NCSA gains 153 Tflop supercomputer

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The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), USA, has begun installation of a 153 Tflop supercomputer, dubbed Forge. Forge is a hybrid system that combines both CPUs and general purpose graphics-processing units (GPUs); it will replace NCSA's previous hybrid system, known as Lincoln, and is expected to enter production by 1 July 2011.

Forge will combine 18 Dell PowerEdge C6145s that contain 36 nodes of dual-socket/eight-core AMD processors, with M2070 Nvidia Fermi GPU units housed in Dell's C410x PCI expansion enclosures; there are eight Fermi units for each node, for a total of 288. Each Nvidia M2070 provides more than 500 Gflops of double-precision performance and 6GB of GDDR5 memory. A QDR InfiniBand interconnect fabric will interconnect the nodes; 700 Tbytes of GPFS file system space will be provided by two Data Direct Networks SFA 10000 units. The I/O bandwidth of the system is expected to exceed 16GB/sec.

Forge is being installed at the University of Illinois' new National Petascale Computing Facility and will be allocated through the National Science Foundation TRAC process. Projects that have used Lincoln in the past will have the opportunity to continue with Forge.