Seminar on SiCortex HPC Clusters

Date: September 16, 2008
Time: 12:00 pm – 1:31 pm

An Introduction to SiCortex Energy Efficient HPC Systems

Room: SB4.01.20 (CS conference room)

Presenters: Dr. Avi Purkayastha, Mr. Doug Logan - from SiCortex

Abstract:For over a decade, typical High Performance Computing systems have beenconstructed by assembling clusters of commercial computers designed aroundinexpensive commodity processors. The significant power consumption andenormous heat generated by contemporary processor chips may not matter topersonal computer users, but it causes serious problems in high performancecomputing, where every watt of wasted power is multiplied by hundreds orthousands of nodes. In addition, efficiently interconnecting those thousandsof nodes has become somewhat problematic - creating a growing imbalance betweenlarge reserves of raw processor power and constrained inter processor communications.

Limitations of conventional clustering technology are being addressed byradically new architectural approaches such as the IBM Blue Gene (TM), theupcoming Intel Larabee (TM) chipset and the SiCortex family of systems.Common characteristics of these innovative new high processor count architectures are:

- Trading the speed of processors for lower power consumption
- Completely new System on a Chip (SoC) designs
- Very large numbers of nodes in physically small packages
- Exotic massively scaling interconnect fabric topology

The presentation "Introduction to the SiCortex Architecture" will outlineSiCortex's design philosophy. SiCortex will discuss their implementation ofthe Kautz interconnect topology - an ultra low network diameter, low latencyand highly fault tolerant design. SiCortex's custom low wattage 6 core SoC willbe presented.

FabriCache, an innovative RAM DISK type of extension to the LUSTRE parallelFile System, will also be highlighted. Finally, the SiCortex Linux environmentand performance toolset will be discussed, along with examples of usage.