May 19, 2011
May 19 -- The National Center for Supercomputing Applications has begun installation of a 153 teraflop supercomputer, dubbed Forge. Forge is a hybrid system that combines both CPUs and general purpose graphics-processing units (GPUs); it will replace NCSA's previous hybrid system, known as Lincoln, and is expected to enter production by July 1.
Forge will combine 18 Dell PowerEdge C6145s that contain 36 nodes of dual-socket/eight-core AMD processors, with M2070 NVIDIA Fermi GPU units housed in Dell's C410x PCI expansion enclosures; there are eight Fermi units for each node, for a total of 288. Each NVIDIA M2070 provides more than 500 gigaflops of double-precision performance and 6GB of GDDR5 memory.
A QDR InfiniBand interconnect fabric will interconnect the nodes; 700 terabytes of GPFS filesystem space will be provided by two Data Direct Networks SFA 10000 units. The I/O bandwidth of the system is expected to exceed 16GB/sec.
Projects that have used Lincoln in the past will have the opportunity to continue with Forge. For example:
Forge is being installed at the University of Illinois' new National Petascale Computing Facility, which offers a state-of-the-art 20,000-square-foot machine room. The system will be allocated through the National Science Foundation TRAC process.
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