The computing laboratories at CRPC sites across the country form one of the most advanced collections of high-performance parallel systems in the world. According to CRPC Facilities Director Paul Messina of Caltech, this collection will be expanded in 1997 to include a variety of new systems that will enhance existing projects and support new directions in CRPC research.
One acquisition important to many of the CRPC's research efforts in high performance computing is a Convex SPP2000 system, which will be installed at Rice University early this year. The SPP2000 family of computers, also known as Exemplar X-Class, features the Hewlett-Packard PA-8000 processor and Cache-Coherent Non-Uniform Access (CC-NUMA) global memory. The basic building blocks of SPP2000 architecture are hypernodes, with up to 16 processors physically sharing memory. Multiple hypernodes are connected with a variant of the Scalable Coherent Interconnect (SCI) technology to form systems of up to 512 processors and 512 gigabytes (GB) of directly addressable memory.
The Rice configuration consists of two hypernodes, one with 16 processors and 1 GB of memory and one with 8 processors and 512 megabytes of memory. This system will provide a testbed for research on compiler technology and algorithms for CC-NUMA architectures as well as a substantial resource for computational science.
Caltech's Center for Advanced Computing Research (CACR) will also acquire a Convex SPP2000 system in a partnership with Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Caltech's initial configuration will consist of 64 processors to be installed in February. By mid-summer, the system will grow to 256 processors sharing 64 GB of memory and 1 terabyte of disk. Although no CRPC funds are being used to acquire Caltech's SPP2000, CRPC projects will have access to the system by virtue of the CRPC's partial support of CACR operational expenses.
CRPC researchers will soon have access to an SGI Origin 2000 system at Los Alamos. Scheduled for delivery in April, the Origin 2000 will have 256 CPUs, 32 GB of memory, and a 500 GB disk. In February 1998, the system configuration will grow to 640 processors, 76 GB of memory, and 1 terabyte of disk space. The CRPC will partially fund this aquisition and will be allotted 200,000 processor hours over the next two and a half years.
The CRPC will also acquire new types of computing facilities as part of its focus on new computing and collaboration technologies. Argonne National Laboratory, Rice, Syracuse University, and the University of Tennessee will install clusters of Windows NT machines with Pentium Pro MP nodes and commodity interconnect. Caltech plans to acquire a 4-processor Pentium Pro system. These systems will be used to investigate software and applications issues for Commodity Off-The-Shelf (COTS) systems and to provide a start on future platforms for CRPC work in Problem Solving Environments (PSEs) and other research areas.
Caltech will also acquire an ImmersaDeskTM for immersive visualization and telecollaboration. Argonne is currently operating an ImmersaDeskTM, and other CRPC sites plan to obtain them in the future.
"All of these new systems will become part of our network of distributed facilities that are shared between sites and with collaborators," says Messina. "They will play a significant role in the CRPC's ongoing efforts to conduct groundbreaking research and solve important problems in science and industry using parallel computation."
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