1 de febrero de 2012

Week 1

Distributed and Parallel Systems
Contribution: Week 1

What is a supercomputer?

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing has this definition for "supercomputer":
A broad term for one of the fastest computers currently available. Such computers are typically used for number crunching including scientific simulations, (animated) graphics, analysis of geological data, structural analysis, computational fluid dynamics, physics, chemistry, electronic design, nuclear energy research and meteorology.

The speed of most computers was, for many years, measured by how many millions of instructions per second, or MIPS, they could execute. Variability in instruction sets has made this benchmark a poor indicator of performance and so it is rarely used anymore. Since supercomputers have always been number-crunchers, their speed is measured in floating point operations per second, or FLOPS, in units of megaflops (MFLOPS), gigaflops (GFLOPS), and teraflops (TFLOPS) which refer to millions, billions, and trillions of FLOPS, respectively.


Much of the early history of the supercomputer is the history of the father of the supercomputer, Seymour Cray (1925-96), and the various companies he founded; in particular, Cray Research, which was the U.S. leader in building the fastest supercomputers for many years. Cray's mission throughout his life was to build the fastest computer in the world, a goal he first realized in developing the first fully transistorized supercomputer, the CDC 1604, in 1958 Control Data Corporation, a company he founded with William Norris in 1957. He went on to design the CDC 6600, which used 60-bit words and parallel processing, demonstrated RISC design, and was forty times faster than its predecessor, followed by the CDC 7600 system. These machines would give Control Data the clout to push the mighty IBM out of the scientific computing field for a time.

Cray left Control Data in 1972 to found Cray Research following a disagreement with Norris, then CEO, who had put a new computer on hold. Always a private man, Cray was never very interested in company management so, as he had with Control Data, he relinquished control of the company after five years and worked out a deal that allowed him to do research and development at a lab away from company headquarters. After designing the 100 megaflops CRAY-1 computer in 1976 and the 1-2 gigaflops CRAY-2 computer system in 1985, both of which were the fastest supercomputers in the world when they were introduced, he again parted ways with his company after top-management elected not to go ahead with his new project, the Cray 3. Founding Cray Computer Corporation in 1989, he again built what would be (briefly) the fastest supercomputer in the world at around 4-5 gigaflops, the Cray 3, which is based on superfast 1 GHz gallium arsenide (GaAs) processors rather than conventional silicon processors, which were, and still are, topping out at 400-500 MHz. He followed it with the Cray 4, also based on gallium arsenide, which is twice as fast in per-node performance as the Cray 3 and is smaller than the human brain.

For many years, Seymour Cray and his companies dominated supercomputing. Eventually, other companies began finally to compete directly. Thinking Machines Corporation, for example, is another company that was famous in the field of supercomputing. Their Connection Machines, which could contain 65,536 SPARC or superSPARC processors, were among the first massively parallel machines.


The next video it's very interesting. Is about how Acer create a supercomputer center, and we can see all the components that they used and the steps followed for the construction of this center.

Supercomputers in Mexico

There is a new Supercomputer Center in Mexico, named Argentum, located in San Luis Potosí. The UNAM has a supercomputer named KAN-BALAM, but now I will show you some information about Argentum.

El Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (IPICYT) realizó la puesta en operación del nuevo cluster del Centro Nacional de Supercómputo, nombrado Argentum, con tecnología y asesoría de IBM, el cual servirá para atender las necesidades y los requerimientos en materia de Computo de Alto Rendimiento de la comunidad científica potosina y nacional.

El Argentum, un cluster E1350 Blade Center, fue manufacturado en la planta de IBM de Guadalajara y representa un poder de procesamiento de 6.2 TeraFlops con 83 nodos de cálculo (que suman 664 procesadores Intel XEON EMT64). El equipo cuenta con 15 TB de almacenamiento y 5 nodos de visualización de alto rendimiento. Estas características lo convierten en la primer computadora de alto rendimiento en el país, fuera de la Ciudad de México. La capacidad de este equipo lo coloca aproximadamente en la posición 400 entre las Top 500 computadoras en el mundo.

El equipo será usado en proyectos de investigación de Química Cuántica, Astrofísica, Modelación de Climas, Biotecnología, Procesamiento Numérico Intensivo, Biología Molecular, y para proyectos del Gobierno de San Luis Potosí, y de otros que así lo demanden.
From Software Guru news.

A video of this center with the explanation of one of the managers in spanish

Supercomputers by Dan Calle

Roberto Martínez por su entrada "Ordenamiento por mezcla".

1 comentario:

  1. From these two entries, you receive 5 pts for the class and 6 pts for the lab for the first week. In the future, let's try to make all content-production directly in the Wiki (this week we got like 12 introductions to supercomputing, whereas we only really need one good introduction in the Wiki).


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