CSIRO to double supercomputer capability

 

Seeks to replace three-year-old SGI Altix system.

The CSIRO has invited vendors to express their interest in a project that would double the capabilities of its ‘cherax’ high performance computing system.

It sought to replace an existing SGI Altix 4700 system, which itself took the place of a four-year-old predecessor Altix 3700 system in August 2008.

Cherax was managed by the CSIRO’s advanced scientific computing (ASC) division, which provided the organisation’s staff with software, support, supercomputing and data storage facilities.

Targeted at data-intensive computing, the Altix 4700 had 128 1.67Hz Itanium processor cores and 512 GB of memory and was tightly coupled with the CSIRO’s petabyte data store.

Its successor was expected to use at least 128 x86-compatible processors with 64-bit capabilities, and have at least 1 TB of globally addressable memory, with a four-year support agreement.

“This will provide processor and software compatibility with nearly all the other systems accessible by CSIRO users, but will uniquely provide a large-memory capability,” the CSIRO explained in its tender documents.

“The system will be used for data-intensive computing, and general shared-memory and other parallel computing ... At least double the capability of the Altix is desirable.”

The new system was expected to use a single Linux operating system, and be closely compatible with the organisation’s existing Sun Constellation systems and IBM ‘burnet’ cluster.

It would have a minimum of four 10 Gbps Ethernet interfaces and 16 fibre channel interfaces, with the capability of being expanded to eight Ethernet and 32 fibre channel interfaces.

Applications were accepted until 1 March. The CSIRO hoped that the new system would be installed by May.

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