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Supercomputer + GPU = Advanced Visualization



The IBM Blue Gene/P Intrepid -- the fastest computer in the world for open science and the third fastest overall computer in the world -- at the Argonne National Lab will soon have advanced data analytics and visualization capabilities, thanks to a recent contract awarded to GraphStream and the world's largest installation of NVIDIA Quadro Plex S4 GPUs. The installation will offer 104 dual quad-core servers with 208 Quadro FX5600 GPUs in the S4s.

"During a massive computation on Intrepid, torrents of data can be unleashed onto the multi-petabyte parallel file system," says acting director Pete Beckman. "For example, in just a little over a minute, Intrepid can produce the equivalent of 1,000 DVDs of file data. Eureka will be used to peer ever deeper into scientist's data, from simulations of the electrical signals of the human heart to exploding supernova. Aided by Eureka, scientists will plow through the tidal wave of data produced by Intrepid faster than ever before, searching for new insights."

GraphStream, a supplier of scalable computer systems, will use the NVIDIA Quadro Plex (S4) visual computing system as the base graphics building block. The base server building block is the SuperMicro 6015-UR. The S4 attaches to a server on either side of it, forming a "sandwich." To the servers, it appears as if they have two Quadro FX5600 graphics cards inside of them. While there are small system disks in the server, all of the data comes from the large storage system over the network. Low-latency modular switches represent the heart of the data-management system. The nine-switch complex supports up to 2,048 connections, each of which simultaneously exchanges data at roughly 1 billion bytes per second. The storage system offers a bank of more than 10,000 disk drives that will send and receive data from the Blue Gene/P's more than 100,000 processors. Altogether, this system can deliver nearly 80 billion bytes per second to and from the disk -- the equivalent of transferring the content of 100 full CDs every second.


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