Silicon Graphics (SGI) today announced the availability of SGI Altix systems running up to 256 Intel Itanium 2 processors within a single instance of the Linux operating system.
Large-scale computational problems, such as those pursued by researchers and engineers in manufacturing, earth sciences, aerospace, life sciences, homeland security, and oil and gas exploration, often benefit from operating within a single system image (SSI). Coupled with the powerful SGI NUMAflex architecture, Altix systems configured with hundreds of processors and terabytes of shared-memory can tackle problems on a tera-scale level, simplifying the programming environment. Large-scale Altix systems enable high-performance computing (HPC) innovators to analyze data sets as whole entities, dramatically accelerating complex calculations. As a result, commercial customers can significantly reduce their time to market for new products, and researchers can trim their time to discovery.
Anticipating demand for even more powerful Altix systems, SGI also announced year-end plans to scale Linux to 512 processors in an SSI, a capability already proven by the recent technology demonstration of the world's largest Linux SSI at NASA Ames Research Center. In November 2003, the NASA facility unveiled the system for use in ocean simulation and other research. "NASA's use of supercomputers like the NASA Ames 512-processor Altix system is vital in our modeling of global climate change and scientific research. As computing technologies advance, we are achieving insights into climate change faster and more efficiently, helping us to better understand and protect our home planet," said Dr. Ghassem Asrar, Associate Administrator, NASA Earth Science Enterprise.
Key to enabling support for 256-processor Altix systems is the recently released SGI Advanced Linux Environment with SGI ProPack 2.4. Now available for new and existing SGI Altix 3000 and SGI Altix 350 customers, SGI ProPack 2.4 boasts record-setting SSI scalability and adds asynchronous I/O, the Vitesse SATA driver, and diskless booting of partitioned systems. Also included are new versions of MPT (message passing toolkit) and SCSL (science and math libraries) which includes new support for ScaLAPACK.
Along with its continuous achievements in Altix, Intel Itanium 2 and Linux scalability, SGI recently posted yet another round of leading results on industry standard HPC benchmarks. In tests whose results were reported Feb. 23, an SGI Altix 3000 system (running an 1.5 GHz Intel Itanium 2 processor) recorded Linpack 100x100 benchmark results of 1659 MFLOPS, which outpaced the closest competitor, an HP Integrity Server rx2600 running the same processor and scoring 1635 MFLOPS. In Linpack 1000x1000 tests, the SGI Altix system delivered the highest score of any single-processor, 1.5 GHz Itanium 2-based system: 5400 MFLOPS, versus 5303 from HP. Linpack is a collection of Fortran subroutines that analyze and solve linear equations and linear least-squares problems.
The dominance in Linpack results follows on the SGI Altix system's already recognized performance leadership. In November, SGI Altix made history by breaking the 1 terabyte/second barrier on the STREAM Triad benchmark, an industry standard measurement of memory bandwidth.
SGI Altix continues to excel in other performance metrics, including SPECfp_rate2000, which measures compute-intensive floating point throughput. In systems driven by 64 or more processors, SGI Altix outpaces similarly configured systems from HP, Sun, and Fujitsu. An Altix system running 64, 1.5 GHz Intel Itanium 2 processors performed more than 35 percent better than an HP Integrity Superdome server with 64 Intel Itanium 2 processors at 1.5 GHz.
"In pursuing a best-of-breed architectural vision for Altix, SGI has combined the open-source, 64-bit Linux OS, the high-performance Intel Itanium 2 processor, and the industry's highest-performance NUMAflex interconnect fabric," said Dave Parry, senior vice president and general manager, Server and Platform Group, SGI. "The Altix platform, now supporting up to 256 processors in a single system image, leverages the industry's best system components to deliver precisely what scientists, researchers, and technologists need to innovate faster: world-record performance."
SGI provides high-performance computing, visualization and storage.