South Africa's new super goes online

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We’ve been following this machine for a long time, motivated by our general despair over the distribution of supercomputers relative to the equator (virtually none south). We announced back in March that Sun had won the tender to deploy a supercomputer in South Africa at the Centre for High Performance Computing [CHPC] in Cape Town.

Earlier this month that computer went online

Sun logoSouth Africa’s newest supercomputer, a Sun Microsystems hybrid, went online in Cape Town earlier this month, providing the local and regional research community with a powerful tool for tackling problems of climate change, energy security and human health.

With a peak performance of 31-trillion calculations per second, the hybrid supercomputer is the fastest in Africa and ranks among the top 500 in the world.

As described in March, the system is a hybrid of just about everything Sun sells, with Sparc chips, Xeons, and Opterons

At the core of this computing power is a Sun SPARC Enterprise M9000 server with 64 SPARC64 VII quad-core processors, and a cluster of four Sun Blade 6048 modular systems.

This was delivered in two stages: stage one consisted of one Sun Blade 6048 modular system with 48 Blades based on Intel Xeon E5450 processors, while stage two consisted of three Sun Blade 6048 modular systems that house 144 blades based on the next-generation Intel Xeon processor – codenamed “Nehalem”.

…The open storage solution is based on 10 AMD Opteron-powered Sun Fire X4540 open storage servers, providing half a petabyte of data, with the Lustre parallel file system for extreme input/output performance and reliability. Rounding out the hardware part of the solution, all of the components are connected via a Voltaire Infiniband switch.

The M9000’s 256 cores and 2TB of memory will be used for large shared memory codes.


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