27 April 2005, 00:04 by mark hoekstra

a supercomputer came to town

Today, in the city I live in, Groningen, the Blue Gene/L was fired up for the first time (well… I’m sure some horny admins have fired it up before…) making it officially Europe’s fastest supercomputer! (at 27.4 teraflops, which would rank it 4th worldwide in the top 500)

it consist of 12,000 rather small chips:

Each node’s chip is 121 square millimeters and built on a manufacturing process with 130-nanometer features, Pulleyblank said. That compares with 267 square millimeters for IBM’s current flagship processor, the Power4+ used in its top-end Unix servers. The small size for Blue Gene’s chips is crucial to ensure the chips don’t emit too much waste heat, which would prevent engineers from packing them densely enough.

Two nodes are mounted onto a module; 16 modules fit into a chassis; and 32 chassis are mounted into a rack.

The computer, called Stella (Supercomputer Technology for Linked Lofar Applications) will be used to compute all the data coming from the 220 miles diameter, 25,000 sensor-network called LOFAR, thereby creating the worlds most sensitive radio-telescope. All this data will be fed to Stella by a 800 gigabit-per-second glassfibre connection…

The data of this website is coming to you from that very datacenter! (my webserver is located in a nearby student-apartmentblock connected through it’s high-speed link)

IBM plans 2nd Blue Gene supercomputer (that’s this one)

high performance computing facilities at the RUG

my day at the supercomputing centre (old pics already, that Cray is obsolete now!)

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