Blue Gene

From Academic Kids

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Blue Gene/L

Blue Gene is a computer architecture project designed to produce several next-generation supercomputers, operating in the PFLOPS range. It is a cooperative project between the United States Department of Defense (who are funding the project), industry (IBM in particular), and academia. There are five Blue Gene projects in development, among them Blue Gene/L, Blue Gene/C, and Blue Gene/P.

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Blue Gene/L

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The Blue Gene/L architecture

The first computer in the Blue Gene series, Blue Gene/L, developed through a partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, cost $100 million and is intended to scale to speeds in the hundreds of TFLOPS, with a theoretical peak performance of 360 TFLOPS. This is almost ten times as fast as the Earth Simulator, the fastest supercomputer in the world before Blue Gene. In June 2004, two Blue Gene/L prototypes scored in the TOP500 Supercomputer List at the #4 and #8 positions.

On September 29, 2004, IBM announced that a Blue Gene/L prototype at IBM Rochester (Minnesota) had overtaken NEC's Earth Simulator as the fastest computer in the world, with a speed of 36.01 TFLOPS, beating Earth Simulator's 35.86 TFLOPS. The machine later reached a speed of 70.72 TFLOPS.

On March 24, 2005, the US Department of Energy announced that Blue Gene/L broke its current world speed record, reaching 135.5 TFLOPS (1 TFLOP = 1 trillion calculations per second). This feat was possible because of doubling the number of racks to 32 with each rack holding 1,024 compute nodes. This is still only half of the final configuration's 65,536 compute nodes.

The final Blue Gene/L installation will have a total of 65,536 compute nodes (i.e., 216 nodes) and an additional 1024 I/O nodes. Each compute or IO node is a single ASIC with associated DRAM memory chips. The ASIC integrates two PowerPC 440 embedded processors, a cache sub-system and communication sub-systems. Each node is attached to three parallel communications networks: a 3D toroidal network for peer-to-peer communication between compute nodes, a collective network for collective communication, and a global interrupt network for fast barriers. The I/O nodes, which run the Linux operating system, provide communication with the world via an Ethernet network. Finally, a separate and private Ethernet network provides access to any node for configuration, booting and diagnostics.

With so many nodes, components will be failing frequently. Thus, the system will be able to electrically isolate faulty hardware to allow the machine to continue to run.

In public relations terms, it is being positioned as the successor of IBM's Deep Blue chess computer; however it bears little architectural resemblance to Deep Blue.

See also: LOFAR

Blue Gene/C

The purpose of the Blue Gene/C (also known as the Cyclops64 architecture) is to design a cellular architecture-based supercomputer. Each "cell" consists of several dozen (approximately 75) custom designed 64-bit processors. Each processor will have two thread units, two integer units, and a floating point unit. The architecture was conceived by Cray award winner Monty Denneau, who is currently leading the project. Verification testing and system software development is being done at the University of Delaware.

Design is expected to be completed in June 2005, and fabrication should take approximately two months.

There are no plans to release any final performance results.

Blue Gene/P

IBM currently plans to finish Blue Gene/P in 2006. Blue Gene/P is expected to be the first supercomputer to break 1 petaflop, or 1 quadrillion operations per second. HUH!

Blue Gene/Q

The last known supercomputer in the Blue Gene series, Blue Gene/Q is expected to reach 3 petaflops.

Other meanings

External links

eo:BlueGene fr:Blue gene ja:ブルージーン nl:Blue Gene

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