Companies from Europe and the USA have joined forces with Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany, to enter the future of high-performance cluster computing. With the Jülich Research on Petaflop Architectures (JuRoPA) system, a new cost-efficient performance class of supercomputers can be achieved and possible routes towards peta-scale general purpose computers can be explored. By ensuring a balance between the hardware and software component, communication between the high-performance processing units can be optimized.
A computer cluster is a group of tightly coupled computers working closely together using standard PC technology and very fast networks. They are ideal for tackling a wide range of simulation problems and comprise a large proportion of the world’s most powerful computers. With such a collection of computers working in parallel, the extremely fast transmission of signals across the network becomes a decisive factor.
|With the JuRoPA system, a new
cost-efficient performance class of supercomputers will be realised.|
© Forschungszentrum Jülich
The JuRoPA project intends to develop general purpose clusters based on INTEL processor technology, QUADRICS interconnect, PARTEC Cluster Software and IBM System x technology. Intel Xeon 5160 processors comprise the processing power of the JuRoPA system. According to Thomas Lippert, director of the Jülich Institute for Supercomputing, ‘Intel Dual-core processors were chosen in order to create an ideal balance between computer-power, memory bandwidth and energy consumption.’
To coordinate the interoperation of the computing capabilities of the compute-nodes
and the communication potential of the interconnect, the cluster operating system
ParaStation is used. Parastation has been jointly developed by Forschungszentrum
Jülich and the Munich-based company ParTec.
The integration of all the various components will take place at Jülich. A vital feature for Forschungszentrum Jülich is a deep integration of Intel’s Cluster tools, which are required to bring the system up to production level standard. Such an environment is necessary for conducting detailed analysis of the system with real applications from the scientific users.
JuRoPA is part of Jülich’s ongoing strategy to explore emerging technologies that will pave the way towards a European Peta-scale supercomputer complex. ‘Our partnership with Jülich, Intel, IBM and ParTech marks a significant step in the development of commodity supercomputer systems,’ underlines Giovanni Trezza chairman of Quadrics. ‘We expect this alliance to deliver key components for general purpose peta-scale systems in Europe.’