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Synopsys develops supercomputer from Linux servers

Posted: 28 Nov 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Synopsys? supercomputer? Linux? Top 500? Richard Goering?

Synopsys Inc. engineers built the 242nd most powerful supercomputer in the world using commodity Linux servers, according to a new ranking.

The Synopsys-build supercomputer was ranked by Top 500, an independent organization of international supercomputing experts that tracks the world's most powerful computers. Constructed in less than four months from Linux servers, it claims to achieve benchmark results surpassing 3.7 Teraflops, roughly equivalent to 18,000 personal computers all working together to solve the same problem.

Rather than purchasing equipment, the Synopsys IT team re-architected and re-deployed existing off-the-shelf hardware on a nightly basis to operate and tune the supercomputer. The supercomputer is comprised of 329 Linux servers with 1,222-by-86 cores connected by non-blocking standard Gigabit Ethernet. It was assembled from six pre-existing clusters of Linux servers used by Synopsys engineers during business hours.

"We run EDA jobs on our supercomputer, which is really a combined cluster," said Hasmukh Ranjan, senior director for IT at Synopsys. "Synopsys' EDA tools scale out very well. Scaling out can be used to either reduce time to results for a given chip design, or to accommodate larger chip designs with the same time to results as smaller designs on smaller clusters."

Ranjan noted that the Synopsys supercomputer uses an Ethernet setup with only one tier of switches. Using two tiers is more common, but can increase latency, he said.

Top500 ranks the most powerful computers in the world twice a year. The ranking includes commercial, scientific and academic research institutes. The Top500 list is chosen by technologists from the University of Mannheim (Germany), the University of Tennessee, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

- Richard Goering
EE Times

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