Texas will get a 10 petaflop supercomputer from Dell and Intel in 2013

A new supercomputer new system, called Stampede, will be built by TACC (Texas Advanced Computing Center) in partnership with Dell and Intel to support for four years the nation’s scientists in addressing the most challenging scientific and engineering problems. NSF is providing $27.5 million immediately and Stampede is expected to be up and running in January 2013. The estimated investment will be more than $50 million over four years; the Stampede project may be renewed in 2017, which would enable four additional years of open science research on a successor system. Stampede will have a peak performance of 10 petaflops, 272 terabytes (272,000 gigabytes) of total memory, and 14 petabytes (14 million gigabytes) of disk storage. The machine is scheduled to boot up in late 2012 and be ready for production in January 2013.

Stampede will comprise several thousand Dell “Zeus” servers with each server having dual 8-core processors from the forthcoming Intel® Xeon® Processor E5 Family (formerly codenamed “Sandy Bridge-EP”) and each server with 32 gigabytes of memory. This production system will offer almost 2 petaflops of peak performance, which is double the current top system in XD, and the real performance of scientific applications will see an even greater performance boost due to the newer processor and interconnect technologies. The cluster will also include a new innovative capability: Intel® Many Integrated Core (MIC) co-processors codenamed “Knights Corner,” providing an additional 8 petaflops of performance. Intel MIC co-processors are designed to process highly parallel workloads and provide the benefits of using the most popular x86 instruction set. This will greatly simplify the task of porting and optimizing applications on Stampede to utilize the performance of both the Intel Xeon processors and Intel MIC co-processors.

As part of the Stampede project, future generations of Intel MIC processors will be added when they become available, increasing Stampede’s aggregate peak performance to at least 15 petaflops. Stampede also has potential for additional upgrades.

Additionally, Stampede will offer 128 next-generation NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs) for remote visualization, 16 Dell servers with 1 terabyte of shared memory and 2 GPUs each for large data analysis, and a high-performance Lustre file system for data-intensive computing. All components will be integrated with an InfiniBand FDR 56Gb/s network for extreme scalability.

“Stampede is the most powerful x86-based Linux HPC cluster announced for deployment in the U.S. at this time,” Boisseau said. “The system builds on TACC’s history of continuously deploying larger and more powerful x86 Linux clusters that enable new scientific breakthroughs. It will also be the first large-scale implementation of Intel’s MIC architecture-based products.”

HPCWire also has coverage

Intel has not announced an official launch date for the Knights Corner MIC product, but it should be generally available sometime in 2013, or perhaps late 2012 if Intel’s 22nm process technology ramps up more quickly. The actual number of MICs in Stampede is not public, but Intel has promised them enough to deliver 8 peak petaflops.

Using a little quick math, each MIC chip will probably need to deliver at least 1.3 to 1.5 double precision teraflops to hit the 8 petaflop performance target. Coincidentally, the NVIDIA’s Kepler GPU is also expected to deliver about 1.3 to 1.5 double precision teraflops. Note that the first MIC parts will be implemented with Intel’s Tri-Gate 22nm technology, while the Kepler GPUs will be manufactured on standard 28nm technology

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