L'acquisizione di sistemi HPC: un caso ed alcune note generali


At the end of 2008, CASPUR has released to its users a new HPC system. The new system,
built-up by ClusterVision, has 258 nodes with two quad-core AMD Opteron processors,
for a total of 2.064 cores. Nodes are linked through a broad band and low latency
Infiniband switch and have a total of 4.5Tbyte of dynamic memory. The system delivers
17.3 TFlops (Rpeak) and 13.6 TFlops (Rmax). Performances and total core-hours per
year have grown 15 and 12 times respectively whilst cost/GFlops has declined to 1/40
of the previous one. According to CASPUR, the process adopted to acquire the system
has been a best practice, with respect of technology and economics results, suitable
for being used in future procurements. The article intends to illustrate such process, underlining
main considerations and motivations in terms of technology, innovation, user
needs adopted to define kind and size of the system as well as the parameters used
to perform the choice. Some more is reported about world-wide HPC innovation scenario,
stressing differences between HPC procurement in Europe and in the USA. Eventually,
a couple of draft proposals to improve the effectiveness of overall HPC
investments in Italy.


HPC; AMD Opteron; Parallel Computing

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