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Nvidia Powering World's Most Powerful Supercomputer

By , Douglas Perry - Source: AllthingsD | B 55 comments

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has chosen Nvidia's Tesla GPU to power a new supercomputer for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Tuesday Nvidia said that Oak Ridge National Laboratory has chosen Tesla GPUs to power a new Cray XK6 supercomputer called "Titan" for the U.S. Department of Energy's open science computing facility located in Tennessee.

Titan will integrate 299,088 AMD Opteron processing cores (18,688 16-core CPUs) as well as 7000 to 18,000 Nvidia Kepler GPUs. The system, which is scheduled to completed in late 2012, will also integrate 600 TB of memory. ORNL said that Titan will be ready for users sometime in 2013.

Nvidia said that the new computing beast has the potential to deliver over 20 petaflops of peak performance, more than two times faster and three times more energy efficient than today's fastest supercomputer, the K computer located in Japan. Steve Scott, the CTO of Nvidia’s Tesla business unit, added that Titan will be ten times more powerful than the current Jaguar machine. 85-percent of the computing power will come from the Tegra chips while the other 15-percent will be handled by conventional AMD CPUs.

According to Scott, GPUs are better at floating point operations than CPUs, and they're more power efficient. "We’ve reached the point where processors have become power constrained," he told AllThingsD. "If you pack all the transistors that you can onto a chip and run it as fast as you can, the chip will melt. We’ve entered a time where performance is constrained by power, and its only going to get worse, so you need processors that are power efficient. It’s a fundamental sea change in the underlying technology of high performance computing."

Jeff Nichols, associate laboratory director for Computing and Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said that Titan will be used for research in a broad range of fields, including material science, energy technology, medical research, geoscience, and others. "All areas of science can benefit from this substantial increase in computing power, opening the doors for new discoveries that so far have been out of reach," he said. "Titan will be used for a variety of important research projects, including the development of more commercially viable biofuels, cleaner burning engines, safer nuclear energy, and more efficient solar power."

The first stage of deployment is already underway, as Oak Ridge is currently upgrading its existing Jaguar supercomputer with 960 Tesla M2090 GPUs based on Nvidia's "Fermi" architecture. These GPUs will serve as companion processors to multi-core CPUs in the Cray XK6 supercomputer. In the second phase -- which is expected to begin in 2012 -- Oak Ridge plans to deploy up to 18,000 Tesla GPUs based on the next-generation architecture code-named "Kepler."  The peak performance will end up in the range of 10 to 20 PFlops, depending on "architectural options", ORNL said.

The lab hopes that Titan will deliver result in research that targets the simulation of commercial biofuel production, the development of new materials for photocells, and the simulation of extended lifecycles for nuclear power plants.

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    plznote , October 11, 2011 11:05 PM
    Excellent.
  • 15 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 11, 2011 11:21 PM
    gmcizzleBut can it run BF3?

    Ya, sorry dude, that question just doesn't hold the same weight as it did with Crysis. BF3 maxed at 1920x1200 actually performs quite well on high end single GPU configurations.
  • 13 Hide
    gmcizzle , October 11, 2011 11:59 PM
    18000-SLi. Dear Santa...
Other Comments
  • 24 Hide
    plznote , October 11, 2011 11:05 PM
    Excellent.
  • -4 Hide
    jezus53 , October 11, 2011 11:11 PM
    Funny how a guy from nVidia is talking about melting chips.
  • 9 Hide
    Inferno1217 , October 11, 2011 11:14 PM
    gmcizzleBut can it run BF3?


    BF3 is much better coded than the mess known as Crysis. The highest end cards at the time could not run it at full settings when it was released. BF3 does NOT suffer from this. Crysis was poorly coded.
  • 15 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 11, 2011 11:21 PM
    gmcizzleBut can it run BF3?

    Ya, sorry dude, that question just doesn't hold the same weight as it did with Crysis. BF3 maxed at 1920x1200 actually performs quite well on high end single GPU configurations.
  • 8 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 11, 2011 11:27 PM
    It's amazing how quickly the floating point performance of modern supercomputers have increased. It seems like just yesterday the first PFLOP system launched, and next year we could potentially have a 20 PFLOP system. This is no doubt related to the integration of GPU coprocessors in recent supercomputing systems.
  • -4 Hide
    gerchokas , October 11, 2011 11:30 PM
    With billions (or trillions?) of transistors, how close can it be to emulating a human brain?? I want true AI!!!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 11, 2011 11:31 PM
    Maybe Crysis just did more stuff?
  • 0 Hide
    Stryter , October 11, 2011 11:49 PM
    Hey, a shout out for Tennessee, hell yea!
  • 3 Hide
    jecho , October 11, 2011 11:49 PM
    just tell the government it would be cheaper to DIY
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 11, 2011 11:57 PM
    600~ petaflops is close to human brain!! heard it somewhere on TV!!.....or was it only 40!!!hmmmm.......well.....who knows!!
  • 13 Hide
    gmcizzle , October 11, 2011 11:59 PM
    18000-SLi. Dear Santa...
  • 6 Hide
    ikyung , October 12, 2011 12:10 AM
    In 25 years we will have that much power in the palm of our hands.
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , October 12, 2011 12:13 AM
    When I first saw the headline I wondered what in the world is Nvidia doing powering a supercomputer. Had to read the article twice to sort it out. LOL!
  • 1 Hide
    del35 , October 12, 2011 12:13 AM
    Imagine the noise from the MSM if Apple could make similar claims. We would be hearing nonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn stopppppppppppppppppp of Steve Jobs' genius. We know the game.
  • 3 Hide
    Shin-san , October 12, 2011 12:15 AM
    AMD Opterons seem to be paired with this kind of GPU quite often. Also, 16 core AMD implies that they will be using Bulldozer.
  • 0 Hide
    christop , October 12, 2011 12:25 AM
    Nice rig...
  • 0 Hide
    Ciuy , October 12, 2011 12:31 AM
    its good news....more power for the masses
  • 1 Hide
    tomfreak , October 12, 2011 12:37 AM
    Inferno1217BF3 is much better coded than the mess known as Crysis. The highest end cards at the time could not run it at full settings when it was released. BF3 does NOT suffer from this. Crysis was poorly coded.
    agree, but the realism art and vegetation on Crysis with Mod are still the best looking till date. Screw it, like I care about the poorly code game, as long as it look good and my hardware can run @ max setting I am GAME.
  • 0 Hide
    Th_Redman , October 12, 2011 12:37 AM
    When can I buy one of these when it's completed? Just kidding. It's incomprehensible the power of something like this.
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