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A look inside the fastest supercomputer in Europe

What is now the fastest supercomputer in Europe was recently unveiled at a research institute in Jülich, Germany. The computer, named Jugene, is capable of a massive one trillion computing operations per second.

Here are some facts about the Jugene supercomputer:

  • Based on IBM’s Blue Gene/P architecture.
  • Computing capacity: 1 petaflop/second.
  • That equals the computing power of more than 50,000 PCs.
  • 294,912 processor cores.
  • Processor type: 32-bit PowerPC 450 at 850 MHz.
  • 144 terabytes of RAM.
  • Mounted in 72 racks.
  • Network bandwidth: 5.1 gigabyte/second with a 160 nanosecond latency.
  • Power input: 2.2 megawatts.

Wish we could get one of these for Pingdom. Couldn’t cost all that much, could it? ;)

Packing those CPUs tightly together

Each of the Jugene’s 72 racks has 1024 compute nodes, where each node has 2 gigabyte of RAM (totaling 144 terabytes for the whole system). This is what the compute nodes look like and how they are packed together:

For those of you who really want to dive into the nitty-gritty tech specs regarding Jugene’s setup, here’s more info.

Installing Jugene

Looks like there was some cabling involved in the installation process. A LOT of it…

This is most definitely a bit more complicated than plugging in your home computer.

Source: The Jülich Supercomputing Centre.

Suggested further reading:
Ten of the coolest and most powerful supercomputers of all time



70 comments
pallgone
pallgone

So another supercomputer article without any reference to the operating system. If it would run Windows I bet you would let us know all over the place. And no, it doesn't run a "stripped down version of Linux" but "SuSE Linux Enterprise (SLES 10)" 91% of the top 500 supercomputers in the world run Linux today (www.top500.org)

Pingdom
Pingdom

@pallgone: The focus of the article is on hardware, that's why there isn't any information on the OS.

James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil
James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil

The pictures of them pulling cables reminds me of the days when I worked for IBM and the 360 Model 65 Computers. They were the top of the line in 1970 and took up about as much room as this one. But my 7 y/o Mac laptop is much more powerful than the 360/65. Furthermore, I have a 1.5 TB external hard drive for my desktop iMac. That little drive contains more disk storage than existed in the entire world in 1968, the year I started with IBM. It makes me eager to see what the next ten years will bring. :)

Nick
Nick

So we are back to the massive computers in huge rooms. We will be talking about this in the future just like we talk about the first computers from the past.

Oystein
Oystein

The BlueGene (L and P) was actually upgraded a couple of times. Increased the speed 700 to 850 if remember correctly, and also double the ram from 500MB to 1GB and then to 2GB. The cooling is actually just regular server room cooling. (Most other super computers need liquid cooling. Check out the Earth simulator...) The cpu speed was limited for cooling purposes. The blueGene is not very good for applications like SETI@Home since SETI@HOME is embarrassingly parallel and requires no inter-processor communication during processing. BlueGene is designed with a very fast network that makes it more suitable for more complex applications.

David
David

What is the purpose of this super fast computer, It also seems like the ENIAC as someone said, but I think this doesn't fit in the USS Enterprise to control telet ransportation, so keep working IBM it's got to be smaller. :) Cual es el proposito de esta super computadora, Tambien me parece como la ENIAC como alguien dijo antes, pero no creo que quepa en el USS Enterprise para controlar la teletransportación, asi que sigan trabajando Señores de IBM, tiene que ser mas Pequeña. :)

steven
steven

i would like to play a game of chess against this machine.

nathan
nathan

wow....IBM server rules..

Microsoft Guy
Microsoft Guy

Wow, great stuff! This is all very interesting. It seems like this computer must suck up thousands of kilowatts of power.

Honest Billy
Honest Billy

In answer to the distro question. It runs it's own stripped down version of linux. After all it would a shame if kde crashed it. O to all those pointing out how it could be better. You might want to read about in other sources as to why it is as it is. The hardware is configured for a certain class of experiments. Distributed computing will be better for some situations but not all programs can be broke up this way without huge overheads being introduced.

CharlF
CharlF

I think You CAN run Crysis on it, It doesnt a big Video Card, It can just cache everything through the normal ram. No worries :-p

dmilith
dmilith

On what Linux distro it's running on?

Diego Viola
Diego Viola

Nice, and it runs Linux, the best OS in the world.

delo
delo

Stupid - I just read here a lot of nonsense... Does it will play Crysis, does it will play Doom... does it run Windows? Come on dudes, are you really that stupid? Do you really think they will play shitty games on it - wasting horrible expensive time? It is for high troughput computing projects, like the well known SETI-Project (http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/) for example, or for one of such projects like the world grid (http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/) have to offer. And honestly what the hell do you want with such a cluster?

chaochen
chaochen

Oh please don't tell me they use these for scientific calculations for real. They has these bullshit procedures and accounts and access request for systems like this but in reality the admins just code pr0n dvds on them. What changed over the time that 10 years later only millionaires could afford personal toys like this, today you can put together a 16core lil power station for cheap costs and we should thank asia for that.

arbiter
arbiter

That machine is PowerPC, not x86, so it will run neither Vista nor Crysis automatically. That being said, the incredible power of the Jugene supercomputer might be enough to simulate an x86 machine running Vista and Crysis, but another OS would have to be underneath to run the VM. Of course, the GPU would have to be simulated as well. That would be an interesting test, to say the least.

Paul
Paul

This thing will run the international planned economy and trade right?

Pooh
Pooh

I just wet myself!

Robotech
Robotech

Wow, I have a dual 450mhz PowerPC supercomputer in my room. I'm using it as a night stand.

steve
steve

Just to let you know its not petaflops/s it should just be petaFLOPS because FLOPS stands for floating operations per second. So the /s is actually incorrect

Pingdom
Pingdom

@Steve and those who commented on the "petaflops" thing: Thanks. Fixed it. It was a typo.

Erim
Erim

they use these computers in airports

Gubbin
Gubbin

flops/second is redundant.

Tomaz
Tomaz

I bet they're kicking themselves they didn't talk to you first _ck_. I'm no expert but this probably took a little while to design and build, during which technology inevitably advances...

ItsMeSnitches
ItsMeSnitches

Does it come with the cup-holder in the front panel like my Acer???

James
James

@ares, I'm no expert, but that kind of overhead is part of any supercomputer as far as I'm aware. The power and resources required to manage those nodes is required, whether or not it's abstract or all in the same room. Not to mention, the overhead of having separate sites is probably way higher than any 'waste' here.

googly
googly

...and Vista STILL runs slow on it!!

RedRightHand
RedRightHand

You could download the internet. All of it.

Lee
Lee

If you want to impress me, pass the Turing test...

Erik
Erik

Neat, In 15 years I will be seeing one that is just as good but the size of my laptop for $6000 at bestbuy. In 20 years I will have bought one just as good for $1000 and it will be like a pad of paper. In 30 years I will have something twice as good implanted into my arm.

Anon
Anon

I think its used to host some epic CS server.

Guy
Guy

o i got one of those in my basement

JOhann
JOhann

LOL! i want that. that way, it would only take HALF a century to open adobe acrobat pdf!

me
me

1,000 4870's can do more processing than the 294,912 cores these guys are using. But to be fair that is 800,000 stream processors. :-)

Phil E. Drifter
Phil E. Drifter

phi-nix, June 14th, 2009 at 8:29 am "what the hell is it for???" They sell time for it. Say NASA wants to run some CPU intensive takes, interstellar modeling or something, NASA would pay them to run tests for 2hr/2day/a week.

Stuart
Stuart

But does it play Doom?

sam
sam

What problems do these computers solve. How are they used. Do they compute how many cars can travel on a bridge without falling in the water.

ares
ares

Didn't it occur to anybody that cluster having some 300K cores and the processing power of "more than 50 000" PC's is kinda shitty ? Or phrased otherwise, that it has "kinda" high overhead ? And that today it would be a lot more lucrative to use a bunch of disconnected nodes & properly distributed algorithms / data paths ? Well, it might be some are unable / unwilling to do it properly, so they are probably the only ones to care. But hey, the biggest & fastest mainframe is here, everyone just drop to your knees and worship this overpriced, energy hungry pile of shit.

Enlightenment
Enlightenment

Hey fools, likely they started designing the boards a long time ago, thus is why the processor isn't the very latest. Obviously this stuff is not off-the-shelf common motherboard crap you use at home.

hayhayy
hayhayy

woah, thats actual amazing.. i wish i could have it :D

hayhayy
hayhayy

loves it! whens it coming to real world :D?

owmama
owmama

omg, coolest thing ever, just the thought excites me :|

youwishbud.
youwishbud.

your all wierd. that thing is a waste of space.

John
John

This reminds me of photos of ENIAC which also took up a room. And now a tiny computer like a PICOTux has 150x as much processing power and is the size of an RJ45 connector. I can barely imagine what the next 50 years are going to bring.

Heroix
Heroix

WoW. That's insane. What's fastest of whole world and where is it hosted then?

judah
judah

Will it run on windows? :))

phi-nix
phi-nix

what the hell is it for???

Fillmatic
Fillmatic

I'm sorry, but this has NOTHING on THE GIBSON.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 原文:A look inside the fastest supercomputer in Europe [...]

  2. [...] IBM initially developed the Blue Gene family of supercomputers to simulate biochemical processes involving proteins. The Blue Gene/L at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) was the world’s fastest computer between November 2004 until 2008 when it lost its crown to another IBM project, the Roadrunner. In its current configuration, the Blue Gene/L at LLNL has 131,072 IBM PowerPC processors running at 700 MHz, a total of 49.1 terabytes of RAM, 1.89 petabytes of disk space and a theoretical peak performance of 367 teraflops. A more beefed up version of the system previously achieved a peak performance of 596 teraflops. (For another very powerful Blue Gene computer, this time based on Blue Gene/P, check out the newly updated Jugene which is currently the fastest supercomputer in Europe.) [...]

  3. [...] Inside the fastest supercomputer in Europe [...]