Japanese Manufacturer Launches World’s Fastest Vector Supercomputer
NEC Corp. announced the worldwide launch and availability of the SX series model “SX-8,” the world’s most powerful vector supercomputer with a peak processing performance of 65TFLOPS (TFLOPS: one trillion floating point operations per second), knocking IBM’s Blue Gene out of the lead.
Inheriting vector architecture, whose sustained performance has been demonstrated by the Earth Simulator, the product combines enhanced CPUs, and memory and I/O processing performance. A further-enhanced, single-chip vector processor, realized by the SX-6, also contributes to improved price performance and space-saving offered by the SX-8.
With its dedicated CPUs, large-scale memory and high data transfer rate between memory and CPUs, the computer delivers higher sustained performance than scalar supercomputers with a number of general-purpose CPUs. This is particularly effective in fields that require large-scale and ultra high-speed computing of massive data, such as meteorological forecasting, environmental simulations and automotive crash analysis.
Additional features of this product include enhanced space- and power-savings, achieving a reduction in space by 25% and power consumption by 50%, and a software environment suitable for a large-scale, multi-node system. The basic software, “SUPER-UX,” maintains upward compatibility with the existing SX series, and achieves further scalability expansion due to enhanced I/O processing and MPI. Global File System (GFS), a high-speed, file sharing system among multiple nodes on a system or among different systems, has also been enhanced. By utilizing GFS, users can access the shared files with a high performance close to that of a local disc, and can also take advantage of the high-performance functions from third party platforms such as SUN and HP as they do with NFS (Network File System).
The Japanese company aims to achieve worldwide sales of more than 700 units for the next three years. In 1983, NEC entered the market of supercomputers with the launch of SX-2, whose performance exceeded 1GFLOPS for the first time ever, to meet the needs of ultra high-speed scientific computation.
Supercomputers have been utilized for various fields including the development of advanced technology such as functional device materials with nanotechnology; large-scale scientific computing and simulation for energy development such as nuclear fusion, aeronautics and space development; and engineering such as automotive design and development of electronic products.
Recently, while the scale of the problems to be solved becomes larger, a reduction in the development period is ever increasingly desired. Requirements for increase in speed of problem analysis, design and optimization have also become more demanding, leading to the need for faster supercomputers.