Feeds

CSIRO orders 2,144 core, 174,720 GPU upgrade

Xenon Systems signed to deliver 120-teraflop supercomputer

Boost IT visibility and business value

The CSIRO has announced an upgrade to its GPU cluster to a hefty 134 nodes powered by 268 Intel E5-2650 processors and 390 NVidia Tesla 2050 GPU cards.

The 2,144 CPU core, 174,720 GPU core thumper will, according to the science agency’s head of Computation and Simulation Sciences Dr John Taylor, deliver up to 120 Teraflops of processing power, making it not only the fastest cluster in Australia, but could see the machine join the world’s top-100 list of high performance computers.

The cluster serves many of CSIRO’s research activities, Dr Taylor told The Register, including agricultural research, biomedical and bioengineering activities, mining research, environmental sciences and statistical modeling.

“Just about every area of CSIRO is able to make use of the cluster,” he said.

Since “hundreds of millions of dollars” worth of research activities are supported in one way or another by the cluster, Taylor said, its speed can easily justify the roughly $AU1 million price tag of the upgrade. “There’s a huge amount of leverage off these computer systems,” Taylor explained.

As an example, he said, a task such as analysing the output of an experiment at the Australian Synchotron in Melbourne might take three weeks prior to the upgrade. If something wasn’t right about the result, the researcher would have no option but to book another slot at the synchrotron.

“With our CT reconstruction code running on the GPU cluster, people can put the sample in, collect the data, and see the images in 15 minutes. If there’s something else to look at, they can adjust the experiments on the spot.

“So it makes the experience of going to the synchrotron more interactive, and improves the productivity by as much as 20 percent,” he said.

A key to getting the most out of the cluster has been to train the user base in how to code for the cluster. “You have to understand how your code works, how the data is being moved, how the instructions are being called – and make sure that matches the hardware hierarchy,” he explained.

Xenon Systems says its solution runs up to four GPUs per unit of rack space, and runs up to 8 gigatransfers per second, and uses the new FDR10 InfiniBand interconnect solution.

Xenon had worked with CSIRO on previous iterations of the cluster, helping it achieve 11th place on the list of the world’s greenest supercomputers last November. Since then, Taylor noted, other implementations had pushed it down a few spots to number 14 or 15.

Taylor said Xenon “has been very helpful, they’ve been a partner in helping get the cluster up and running, and keeping it optimal, and providing a good service to our scientists.” ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.