November 18, 2009
'Jaguar' takes three gold medals and a bronze while 'Kraken' scores two silvers
Nov. 18 -- Two powerful Cray XT5 systems at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory computing complex outmuscled competitors to win half of this year's High-Performance Computing (HPC) Challenge awards. Results of the "Best Performance" awards, which measure excellence in handling computing workloads, were announced Nov. 17 at SC09, an international gathering of supercomputing professionals. The Department of Energy's (DOE's) "Jaguar" supercomputer took home the lion's share of the honors, with three "gold medals" and one "bronze." "Kraken," an academic supercomputer funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a partnership with the University of Tennessee, showed with two "silver medals" that it too is a contender.
"The HPC Challenge benchmarks examine the performance of HPC architectures using kernels with more challenging memory access patterns than just the High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark used in the TOP500 list," said Jack Dongarra of University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Jaguar ranks first on the TOP500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers; Kraken ranks third.
Jaguar won first place for speed in solving a dense matrix of linear algebra equations by running the HPL software code at 1,533 teraflop/s (trillion floating point operations per second). Kraken, the world's fastest academic computer, took second by running HPL at 736 teraflop/s.
The fastest cat in the HPC jungle also ranked first for sustainable memory bandwidth by running the STREAM code at 398 terabytes per second. STREAM measures how fast a node can fetch and store information.
Jaguar's third "gold" was for executing the Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT), a common algorithm used in many scientific applications, at 11 teraflop/s. Kraken took second with a speed of 8 teraflop/s.
Edged out by IBM Blue Gene machines at Lawrence Livermore and Argonne national laboratories, Jaguar took third place for running the RandomAccess measure of the rate of integer updates to random locations in a large global memory array.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Blue Gene/L machine took third in HPL and second in STREAM competitions, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology placed third in both STREAM and FFT contests.
"It is very gratifying that Jaguar has been recognized as a very powerful machine," said Buddy Bland, project director for ORNL's Leadership Computing Facility, which hosts Jaguar. "The HPC Challenge benchmarks are designed to give a better view of the entire system's performance. Jaguar was designed to be the most powerful system for scientific applications, and these results reflect that design and implementation. It's no surprise that Kraken, using the same architecture and also designed for high-performance scientific computing, is now the second most powerful machine in the world for that purpose."
To support development of the hardware and software needed to use supercomputers capable of executing quadrillions of calculations each second, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, International Data Corporation, DOE, NSF, and the Center for Information Technology Research sponsor the HPC Challenge.
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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