Inside Tsubame - the Nvidia GPU supercomputer

Tokyo Tech University's Tsubame supercomputer attained 29th ranking in the new Top 500, thanks in part to hundreds of Nvidia Tesla graphics cards.

The graphics chips are contained in 170 Nvidia Tesla S1070 rack-mount units that have been slotted in between the Sun systems. Each of the 1U Nvidia systems has four GPUs inside, each of which has 240 processing cores for a total of 960 cores per system.

The Tesla systems were added to Tsubame over the course of about a week while the computer was operating.

"People thought we were crazy," said Satoshi Matsuoka, director of the Global Scientific Information and Computing Center at the university. "This is a ¥1 billion (US$11 million) supercomputer consuming a megawatt of power, but we proved technically that it was possible."

The result is what university staff call version 1.2 of the Tsubame supercomputer.

"I think we should have been able to achieve 85 [T Flops], but we ran out of time so it was 77 [T Flops]," said Matsuoka of the benchmarks performed on the system. At 85T Flops it would have risen a couple of places in the Top 500 and been ranked fastest in Japan.

There's always next time: A new Top 500 list is due out in June 2009, and Tokyo Institute of Technology is also looking further ahead.

"This is not the end of Tsubame, it's just the beginning of GPU acceleration becoming mainstream," said Matsuoka. "We believe that in the world there will be supercomputers registering several petaflops in the years to come, and we would like to follow suit."

Tsubame 2.0, as he dubbed the next upgrade, should be here within the next two years and will boast a sustained performance of at least a petaflop (a petaflop is 1,000 teraflops), he said. The basic design for the machine is still not finalized but it will continue the heterogeneous computing base of mixing CPUs and GPUs, he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags supercomputersdata centre top picknvidia

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?