Blue Waters Supercomputer

Blue Waters is a petascale supercomputer, located in the NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On August 8, 2007, the National Science Board approved a resolution authorizing the National Science Foundation (NSF for its acronym in English, of Nation Science Foundation) of the US to finance "the acquisition and development of supercomputers more powerful in his class." The National Science Foundation of the United States awarded 208 million dollars to the Blue Waters project.

IBM period: In the processor design, Blue Waters was introduced in the first half of 2010 with the IBM Power7 processor. This processor combines IBM POWER's chip design with an important technology for the Cell processor. Cell is used in the IBM Roadrunner supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Blue Waters program is a continuation of a plan from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which also uses IBM's Power7 chips.

Performance: IBM Systems and Technology Group researcher Bradley McCredie said in a CNET interview: "We took some genes from the Cell project and then embedded them directly into the Power7 core." Another feature of the Power7 chip is the integration of eight in the same wafer package. processing cores, and each core can perform four tasks, also known as "threads". As a result, each chip is shaped like a processor with 32 cores. In contrast, Intel's high-end Xeon processors typically have only two threads per processing core.

Ed Seminaro, an IBM researcher who participated in the University of Illinois program, pointed out that according to the "LINPACK" benchmark performance test of the Top 500 supercomputer, it can produce very good numbers, but the bandwidth (speed) between nodes is not high, because When doing this kind of test, there is almost no communication between the nodes, so the memory bandwidth may actually be poor. In contrast, it pointed out that Blue Waters' inter-node transfer rate can reach 192GB per second. This high performance is important for large companies such as Boeing, GM, and Ford, as well as government agencies. It is useful for various impact simulation experiments, as well as simulation operations such as weather forecasting and nuclear waste processing.

IBM announced the core frequency of the Power775 processor and the specific price of Blue Waters. The processor is packaged in a ceramic package with an interface of 5,336 pins. The chip runs at 3.84GHz and is between 3.5-4GHz announced by IBM. The Power775 consumes 800W, which is why it requires water cooling. The basic system Power775 price 560097 US dollars, which includes eight processors and each processor Power7 two 4GB memory. If the user wants to upgrade two 8GB of memory per processor, then an additional $2,690 is required, if you want to upgrade to two 16GB of memory per processor, you will need to pay an additional $5,199. If the user wants to achieve a maximum memory capacity of 2TB, the price will reach $332,736.


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