Cray announces XC30 computer, capable of 100 petaflops worth of computing

Supercomputers are essential for some purposes, and they can live or die based on their speed and general capabilities with that speed. Two companies, IBM and Cray,  have gained a reputation for being the masters of insane speeds.

Today, Cray announced their latest entry into the fold - a computer identified as the XC30, but previously codenamed 'Cascade'. It should be a little bit more than 'quick', being able to take on work measuring more than 100 petaflops and handle it without bursting into flames. A number of different places have signed contracts to pick up some XC30s, including:

  • The Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano, Switzerland
  • The Pawsey Centre in Perth, Australia, owned by CSIRO and operated by iVEC
  • The Finnish IT Center for Science Ltd. (CSC)
  • The Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in Berkeley, Calif.
  • The Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies (ACCMS) at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan
  • The University of Stuttgart's High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) in Germany

Take notice of the Department of Energy, in Berkeley, California. Supercomputers are in the lifeblood of Berkeley, for the first successful model, the CDC-6600, has resided here since 1964. 100 petaflops is a crazy amount of computing, and no doubt some enterprising genius will find a way to juice some more from the system. IBM's monstrous Sequoia is still king of the hill, but Cray isn't lagging too far behind.

Source: Cray

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18 Comments

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The interesting part is the fact that they use Intel Xeon processors rather than their own 'in house' designed vector processors. Where the value comes from isn't the processors but the interconnections that are used to bring everything together thus reduce latency and ensure that 'stuff' is always being fed to the CPU rather than there being periods of stauling. Side note though, Microsoft has developed Windows Server for HPC so I wonder whether we'll see one of these in the future running Windows Server HPC

TheDogsBed said,
Will that be enough for me to play Angry Birds? Need to be sure before I commit to buying one.

No, I don't think they are going to bring one. The processing power is too small, and the frame rate would be too choppy for a good experience.

Damn, okay. Thanks for the help; I'll put my order on hold for now.

FMH said,

No, I don't think they are going to bring one. The processing power is too small, and the frame rate would be too choppy for a good experience.

TheDogsBed said,
Damn, okay. Thanks for the help; I'll put my order on hold for now.

No problem. And since I use Notepad a lot, I ordered one.

Smart move! But I hope you're not planning to run Wordpad? The load times would be painfully slow.

FMH said,

No problem. And since I use Notepad a lot, I ordered one.

IBM's monstrous Sequoia is still king of the hill, but Cray isn't lagging too far behind.

In the last line you say that Sequoia is still the king in speed, but on the Wikipedia link provided it says that it has a speed of 16 petaflops.

But Cray's computer has 100 petaflop speed!

FMH said,

In the last line you say that Sequoia is still the king in speed, but on the Wikipedia link provided it says that it has a speed of 16 petaflops.

But Cray's computer has 100 petaflop speed!

The press release says: "The Cray XC30 combines the new Aries interconnect, Intel® Xeon® processors, Cray's powerful and fully-integrated software environment, and innovative power and cooling technologies to create a production supercomputer that is designed to scale high performance computing (HPC) workloads of more than 100 petaflops. "

It has conveniently mangled the grammar, but I'm pretty sure what they are saying, is that it can scale to 100 petaflops, not that it operates at now, or in the near future, 100 petaflops. The author of this update should probably fix it. Also, the fine print says something about complying with SEC rules regarding "forward looking statements" so that's another clue.

Shekers said,
Yeah...but can it play Crysis...

as there is no video out, I'd say no this is a mainframe, not a workstation / terminal

neufuse said,

as there is no video out, I'd say no this is a mainframe, not a workstation / terminal

Completely forgot about that...whoops

neufuse said,

as there is no video out, I'd say no this is a mainframe, not a workstation / terminal

Other reasons include: This will run Linux, and Crysis is not optimized for >2 cores, so it will not be much faster than any other dual core system.