|The Leading Source for Global News and Information Covering the Ecosystem of High Productivity Computing / November 13, 2006|
Cray Inc. today announced the Cray XMT platform, a massively multithreaded supercomputing technology that the company has developed for large-scale, state-of-the-art data analysis work. Previously code-named "Eldorado" and developed under a government partnership, the Cray XMT system is the first supercomputer to offer over one million concurrent processing threads in a single system. Through partnerships with third-party solution providers, Cray will make this massively multithreaded platform available for performing advanced data analysis, data mining and predictive analytics in markets such as financial services, business intelligence, bioinformatics, digital media and energy. The Cray XMT platform will be available in early 2007.
The Cray XMT system joins the Cray XT4 supercomputer (see below) as the next innovative technology under Cray's Rainier program, the initial phase of the company's Adaptive Supercomputing vision. The Rainier program aims to bring all Cray processing technologies onto a common Cray XT infrastructure, allowing diverse and challenging applications to run on a single, highly scalable foundation without compromising performance or usability.
With custom massively multithreaded processor chips designed for compatibility under the AMD Torrenza initiative, the Cray XMT system uses technology from the Cray XT3 and Cray XT4 systems to produce a new more cost-effective, massively multithreaded supercomputer.
"The Cray XMT platform implements an important new approach to overcome memory latency, offering the potential to substantially and cost-effectively accelerate data-intensive applications in a variety of sectors," said Jan Silverman, Cray senior vice president of corporate strategy and business development. "In partnership with government agencies and companies who develop integrated solutions, we expect this platform to provide levels of performance for data analysis that have never been achieved before."
For large data-driven problems that today exist in unrelated and diverse data sets, massively multithreaded processing offers the potential for breakthrough performance increases. Each processor in the multithreaded Cray XMT system can handle up to 128 concurrent threads. The system is designed to scale up to more than 8,000 processors, yielding more than one million concurrent threads that can operate on as much as 128 terabytes (128 trillion bytes) of shared physical memory.
The company also announced the availability of its next-generation massively parallel processing (MPP) system, the Cray XT4 supercomputer. The new supercomputer, previously code-named "Hood," is designed to scale to a peak performance of more than one petaflop. The Cray XT4 supercomputer debuts with several large system orders announced earlier this year from leading organizations, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) and the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC).
The new Cray XT4 system is designed for superior scalability, incorporating the latest generation of AMD Opteron processors matched with expanded local and interconnect bandwidth that provides the system balance necessary to optimize application performance at scale. The system is equipped with AMD Opteron dual-core processors that can be upgraded to AMD's future quad-core processing technology.
"The Cray XT4 system is a crucial element in our ongoing partnership with Cray, which calls for us to increase the performance of our Jaguar system to 100 teraflops by the end of this year, and again to 250 teraflops in 2007 or early 2008," said Thomas Zacharia, associate laboratory director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Our users are experiencing sustained performance well in excess of 10 teraflops on a range of applications from Astrophysics/Cosmology, Fusion Science and Materials Science to name a few on our current 54 teraflops system. With our Cray XT4 system upgrade, we are on the path to a system that will eventually perform significantly faster on a broad spectrum of important scientific applications."
The Cray XT4 supercomputer is the first product in Cray's Rainier program, the initial phase of the company's Adaptive Supercomputing vision. The Rainier program will integrate all of Cray's current processor technologies onto a common Cray XT infrastructure, allowing a diverse and challenging application workload to run on a single, highly scalable infrastructure without compromising performance or usability. Evolved from the successful Cray XT3 supercomputer, the Cray XT infrastructure provides a common, scalable environment for login, compilation, resource management, work scheduling and I/O. This environment also includes a unique globally shared, high-performance parallel file system, as well as network interfaces to other systems.
"Massively parallel processors play an important role in the high-performance computing market," said Dr. Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president, Technical Computing Systems. "Their internal systems interconnects are designed to provide significantly higher bandwidth and lower latencies relative to general purpose networking technologies often used in clusters. This stronger internal performance can allow MPP systems to address a broader range of applications with greater levels of scalability than commercial off the shelf products."
"While the theoretical peak speed of supercomputers may be good for bragging rights, it is not an accurate indicator of how the machine will perform when running actual research codes -- which is what our 2,500 users are most interested in," said Horst Simon, director of the NERSC Division at Berkeley Lab. "To better gauge how well a system will meet the needs of our users, we developed SSP, a sustained system performance benchmark suite. Under this real-world performance test, the new Cray XT4 system will deliver over 16 teraflops on a sustained basis."
The Cray XT4 supercomputer uses up to 30,000 AMD Opteron dual-core processors running a highly scalable operating system and interfaced to the Cray SeaStar2 interconnect chip to provide unsurpassed scalability and performance. Unlike typical cluster architectures, in which many microprocessors share one communications interface, each AMD Opteron processor in the Cray XT4 system is coupled with its own interconnect chip. Providing six links in three dimensions, the unique Cray SeaStar2 chip uses its embedded routing capability to take advantage of HyperTransport technology and significantly accelerate communications among the processors
"After an extensive selection process we chose the Cray XT4 supercomputer to replace a cluster system that could no longer keep up with the computing demands of our research groups," said Kimmo Koski, managing director of CSC, the Finnish IT Center for Science. "We determined that the Cray XT4 system matched our needs by delivering the best combination of performance and value."
"Unlike commodity clusters, the Cray XT4 supercomputer is built from the ground up to provide a scalable, balanced system in order to support the most demanding applications," said Cray President and CEO Peter Ungaro. "The Cray XT4 system builds upon our highly successful Cray XT3 supercomputer in almost every aspect, providing enhanced scalability, performance and reliability in a system that is easily upgradeable to protect a customer's investment for years to come."
The Cray XT4 supercomputer is available and shipping now. The new system will be unveiled at the Cray booth #1515, during the opening gala of SC06 in Tampa, Florida.