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Daresbury introduces new computing cluster

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The new computing cluster at the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council's Daresbury Laboratory features Intel QuickPath Nehalem nodes from Supermicro and Nvidia Tesla GPUs as an integrated solution provided by Streamline Computing.

Daresbury Laboratory is planning for the Hartree Centre, which will address 'grand challenge' science delivered through high performance computing, to be implemented in 2011. One significant part of this is expected to be delivered using GPU computing and this latest cluster represents a collaborative programme between Daresbury, Streamline and Nvidia to explore the possibilities of this technology.

Technical specialists from Nvidia and Streamline Computing will work together to ensure that the cluster runs to maximum efficiency, but some early research from Streamline Computing has already demonstrated 10-fold speedups in CUBLAS and CUFFT libraries. Further collaborations may also be possible with software tool and compiler companies to test new tools for GPU computing.

The cluster has been designed to show how effective GPU computing can be for many classes of application, but linked with Nehalem they also allow Daresbury to ensure the minimum of bottlenecks when connecting GPUs through Infiniband in each node to high performance storage systems. This additional cluster enhances a facility installed in the previous year which utilised Harpertown and Seaburg-based nodes with the then fastest IB solution with DDR and PCI-E Gen 2 connect X cards from Mellanox.