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NASA selects workload management software

The NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at NASA Ames Research Center in California is using PBS Professional workload management software, from Altair Engineering's GridWorks business unit, to manage its new Pleiades cluster.

Pleiades, an SGI ICE cluster with 51,200 cores across 12,800 Intel Xeon processors and 51TB of memory, gives NAS 609 teraflops of peak processing power. A recent Linpack benchmarking projects its placement at No 3 on the Top500 list of the world's fastest supercomputing systems. The scalability of PBS Professional enables NAS to run a single job across all Pleiades nodes from one PBS server.

'PBS Professional does just as good a job managing this big cluster as it does managing our Columbia supercluster. All of Columbia's systems use Itanium processors with Linux (single-system image (SSI) systems, 18 with 512-cores, two with 1,024 cores, and one with 2,048 cores),' said Alan Powers, HPC technical director, CSC.

Pleiades increases total teraflops for NAS HPC capacity by more than 7x over pre-installation capacity. It will be used by NASA scientists and engineers to perform simulations for agency missions, such as spacecraft design, and to expand knowledge of the universe by modelling celestial bodies and phenomena such as merging black holes.

Pleiades, with 512 Xeon cores in each of 100 racks, is the largest InfiniBand-equipped system ever built. Its double data rate (DDR) dual fabrics require more than 20 miles of Infiniband cable. Compute nodes can communicate over either fabric for greatest efficiency.

PBS Professional manages the scheduling of activities on all NAS computing resources, including Columbia, an IBM 590 system named Schirra, NAS archive post-processing servers, and Hyperwall-2, a tiled display with 128 20-inch LCD panels. Each of the Hyperwall's 128 nodes includes a dual socket quad-core Opteron processor.

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