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Japan lab at the bleeding edge of shared memory systems

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:JAMSTEC? shared memory system? SGI? supercomputer? processor?

Not meaning to state the obvious, business entities operate differently from research institutions. For one, businesses turn to proven systems for their high-performance computing needs. Research institutions on the other hand are more willing to experiment and take a chance on the latest and greatest to solve complex problems.

The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) is the perfect example: It recently selected SGI's large-scale shared memory system, the UV 2000, for installation at its Earth Simulator supercomputer centre. The supercomputer is integrated with Intel's Xeon processor E5-4600 v2.

Bill Mannel, general manager for compute servers at SGI, said the new processor fits into SGI's UV 2000 architecture: "In Intel's "Tick/Tock" model, every "tock" microarchitectural change Intel makes is followed by a "tick" die shrink (which is an increase in transistor density enabling new capabilities, higher performance levels, and greater energy efficiency within a smaller, more capable version of the previous "tock" micro architecture). The Intel Xeon E5-4600 v2 is a "tick" in Intel's innovation cycle, so there is no microarchitecture change (that typically involves extra cores) and no significant step-function relative to performance."

Mannel describes the deployment as a "mileage may vary" situation. Some applications will enjoy using the extra cores and get more work done. In other cases, processing power is not the bottleneck, so additional cores will not make a difference.

The SGI UV 2000, deployed at JAMSTEC, is one of the largest shared memory systems powered by 2,560 cores of Intel Xeon processor E5-4600 v2 series, and provides 49.152 Tflops of computing capacity with 32TB shared memory for a single system instance. It can operate at up to 64TB of memory and is built on industry-standard hardware and software. Configurations can start as small as just four sockets, and can grow by adding blades while maintaining the correct balance of compute, memory and IO networking or storage capability.

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