KAUST to Acquire Cray XC40

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products_xc_40_photo_01Today Cray announced it has been awarded a contract to provide King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia with multiple Cray systems that span the Company’s line of compute, storage and analytics products. The contract with KAUST marks Cray’s return to the Middle East for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Our goal is to empower faculty and students with the freedom to think big, aim high and explore some of the world’s most difficult challenges,” said KAUST President, Jean-Lou Chameau. “Shaheen II will accelerate our supercomputing capabilities in both the laboratory and in learning environments, so that our people can collaborate on discoveries that will benefit Saudi Arabia and the world.”

Cray will provide KAUST with a Cray XC40 supercomputer with DataWarp technology, a Cray Sonexion 2000 storage system, a Cray Tiered Adaptive Storage (TAS) system and a Cray Urika-GD graph analytics appliance. The Cray XC40 system at KAUST, named “Shaheen II,” will be 25 times more powerful than its current system.

Based in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, KAUST is a global graduate-level university that is rapidly establishing its reputation as a top performing research university. Founded in 2009, it provides some of the world’s best equipped laboratories and an unmatched range of instrumentation under one roof. From its start, KAUST has offered high performance computing, recognizing it as a key enabler of discovery across all fields of science.

We are honored that KAUST has selected a trifecta of Cray’s storage, analytics and supercomputing systems to advance the University’s renowned efforts toward scientific discovery,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO at Cray. “Our new partnership with KAUST signifies Cray’s return to the Middle East region, a growing geographic center for high performance computing and computational research, and another step in our Company’s continuing growth and expansion plans.”

The Cray high performance storage solution at KAUST will include more than 18 petabytes of next-generation DataWarp and Sonexion 2000 storage capacity, running at more than one terabyte per-second to DataWarp and 500 gigabytes per-second to Lustre, with TAS to manage the data through an integrated data archive. Management and operations are simplified through an appliance design with all storage components including software, storage and infrastructure.

The Urika-GD system is a purpose-built, big data appliance for real-time data discovery using graph analytics. The appliance helps automate the surfacing of unknown relationships and non-obvious patterns in diverse data sets without the need for pre-modeling, partitioning or knowing all the queries in advance. The Urika-GD appliance at KAUST will include graph-optimized hardware that provides two terabytes of global shared memory, 64 massively-multithreaded graph processors supporting 128 threads/processor, and an RDF/SPARQL database optimized for the underlying hardware.

Cray XC40 supercomputers are engineered to meet the performance challenges of today’s most demanding high performance computing (HPC) users. Special features of the Cray XC40 supercomputer include: the industry-leading Aries system interconnect; a Dragonfly network topology that frees applications from locality constraints; DataWarp applications I/O accelerator technology; innovative cooling systems to lower customers’ total cost of ownership; the next-generation of the scalable, high performance Cray Linux Environment supporting a wide range of applications; Cray’s HPC optimized programming environment for improved performance and programmability, and the ability to handle a wide variety of processor types in a tightly-integrated system infrastructure.

Consisting of products and multiple years of service and support, the contract is valued at more than $80 million and the systems are expected to be installed in 2015.

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