go together like beans and rice (or CPUs and
motherboards, for the non-chefs out there), but the company's latest is
one of its most impressive to date. Hailed as the most powerful
computing system in all of Rhode Island, the multimillion-dollar
supercomputer at Brown's Center for Computation and Visualization is a
real token of pride for both the institution and IBM as a company.
It was built to be used by researchers statewide to tackle "grand
challenges" affecting Ocean
State residents in climate change, education, energy and health. Both
entities will be working with government, universities, hospitals,
nonprofit organizations, businesses
and other entities in Rhode Island on using the supercomputer, so it
certainly seems as if all that power will be well distributed and used
to benefit a whole heap of people.
So, just how powerful is this thing? It can perform more than 14
trillion calculations per second -- nearly 50 times faster than what
had been available at Brown. It operates at a peak performance speed of
more than 14 teraflops, widely considered to meet supercomputer
standards. Specifically, the machine will be used in genomics that
could lead to drugs for treating specific diseases such
as cancer; investigation of the mechanics of human and animal movement;
exploration of the web of animal life and ocean ecosystems; and studies
of the terrain of planetary bodies, such as Mars. No word on whether or
not it can play Chess, but we're guessing it'd have no trouble
sidestepping your checkmate attempts if so.
Inside the Supercomputer
The new supercomputer - with a total of 1,440 microprocessors - is
based on three IBM iDataPlex systems, equal to the size of six
refrigerators; an IBM Cluster 1350; and multiple IBM storage systems
running General Parallel File System, supported by IBM Global Services.
Highlights of the system:
- Operates at a peak performance speed of more than 14 teraflops, nearly 50 times faster than what had been available at Brown.
390 terabytes of storage capacity, an amount of data which if printed
and stacked, would extend from Providence to Hong Kong.
- Holds 4.5 terabytes of memory, about 70 times more memory than what had been available at Brown.
parallel programs to be run, that, in aggregate, are 20 times faster
than what had been available at Brown. Researchers can now compute a
problem that is 20 times larger in the same time.
with the supercomputer, Brown has increased its backbone network
tenfold, to 10 gigabits from one gigabit. The greater bandwidth means
more data can be moved within the system or into another system.
- Is six times more energy efficient than what had been available at Brown.