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Blue Gene/L: The IBM supercomputer

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  2. 2. INTRODUCTION The word "supercomputer" entered the mainstream lexicon in 1996 and 1997 when IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer challenged the world chess champion in two tournaments broadcast around the world. Since then, IBM has been busy improving its supercomputer technology and tackling much deeper problems. BLUE GENE is an IBM project aimed at designing supercomputers with very high operating speeds, with low power consumption.
  3. 3. WHAT IS A SUPERCOMPUTER? A supercomputer is a computer that is at the frontline of current processing capacity, particularly speed of calculation. The history of supercomputing goes back to the 1960s The CDC 6600, released in 1964, is generally considered the first supercomputer. As of June 2013, China's Tianhe-2 supercomputer is the fastest in the world at 33.86 petaFLOPS.
  4. 4. THE BLUE GENE PROJECT In December 1999, IBM announced a US $100 million research initiative for a five year effort to build a massively parallel computer to be applied in the study of biomolecular phenomena. The project had two main goals: to advance our understanding of the mechanism behind protein folding via large scale simulation. to explore novel ideas in massively parallel machine architecture and software.
  5. 5. Major areas of investigation included: The use of this novel platform to meet scientific goals Making of parallel machines more usable Achieving performance targets at reasonable cost through a novel machine architecture. Developed through a partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  6. 6. WHY THE NAME “BLUE GENE”? “Blue”: The corporate color of IBM “Gene”: The intended use of the Blue Gene clusters – Computational biology, specifically, protein folding
  7. 7. BLUE GENE/L It is the first computer in the blue gene series. Designed to deliver the most performance per kilowatt of power consumed. Intended to scale to speeds in the hundreds of TFLOPS. In june 2004 it overtook NEC’s earth simulator as the fastest supercomputer.
  8. 8. Blue Gene/L Overview
  9. 9. Blue Gene/L Architecture Built using System on a Chip technology in which all functions of a node (except main memory) are integrated onto a single ASIC. Has 65,536 compute or I/O nodes, with 131,072 processors Each node is an ASIC and each ASIC has two 700 MHz IBM PowerPC(440) processors Each PPC has 2 64 bit FPUs.
  10. 10. Blue Gene/L Architecture contd.. Compute nodes are packaged two per compute card, with 16 compute cards plus up to 2 I/O nodes per node board. There are 32 node boards per cabinet/rack. The final configuration of BG/L had 64 such racks. By integration of all essential sub-systems on a single chip, each Compute or I/O node dissipates low power (about 17 watts, including DRAMs).
  11. 11. Blue Gene/L Architecture contd..
  12. 12. Interconnection Network • 3D Torus • Global tree • Global interrupts • Ethernet • Control
  13. 13. 3D TORUS NETWORK
  14. 14. 3D TORUS NETWORK contd.. Torus n/w connects all the 65,536 compute nodes Provides high bandwidth nearest neighbour connectivity. Also preferred for its scalability, cost and packing consideration. Does not require long cables, no separate switch required.
  15. 15. Torus packets – 32 bytes to 256 bytes(in increments of 32 bytes) For routing, header includes six hint bits Torus router consists of three major units – a processor interface, a send unit and a receive unit.
  16. 16. APPLICATIONS Physical simulations Weather forecasting Climate research Molecular modelling Problems involving quantum physics
  17. 17. PROS Low power consumption- twice the performance per watt of a high frequency processor Scalable- Scalability from 1 to 64 racks (2048 to 131072 rocessors) High processing capacity Low cooling requirements enable extreme scale up Centralized system management
  18. 18. CONS Costlier – $2m per single rack Complicated design Maintenance is not easy Special kind of linux kernel is required to operate
  19. 19. ACHIEVEMENTS First supercomputer ever to run over 100 TFLOPS sustained on a real world application, won the 2005 Gordon Bell Prize. Till November 2007, the LLNL Blue Gene/L remained at the number one spot as the world's fastest supercomputer. In September 2009 president Obama recognized the blue gene family with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation(USA) for breakthroughs in science, energy efficiency and analytics.
  20. 20. CONCLUSION BG/L showed that a cell architecture is feasible. Higher performance with less power requirements No limits to scalability of a blue gene system. Influenced the way in which mainstream computers of the future will be built. Today most of the energy efficient computers in the world are built on IBM’s supercomputer technology.
  21. 21. REFERENCES