/. US DOE gets a $24.5 Million Linux Supercomputer

Richard Walsh rbw at ahpcrc.org
Wed Apr 17 12:31:31 PDT 2002

Eugene Leitel wrote:


>An anonymous reader wrote in to say "Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 
>(US DOE) signed a $24.5 million dollar contract with HP for a Linux 
>supercomputer. This will be one of the top ten fastest computers in the 
>world. Some cool features: 8.3 Trillion Floating Point Operations per 
>Second, 1.8 Terabytes of RAM, 170 Terabytes of disk, (including a 53 TB 
>SAN), and 1400 Intel McKinley and Madison Processors. Nice quote: 'Todays 
>announcement shows how HP has worked to help accelerate the shift from 
>proprietary platforms to open architectures, which provide increased 
>scalability, speed and functionality at a lower cost,' said Rich DeMillo,
>vice president and chief technology officer at HP. Read Details of the
>announcement here or here."

Mmmm ... working through some numbers ...

8.3 TFLOPS (if they are quoting peak) with 1400 processors 
would mean they are getting chips with 1.5 GHz clocks (peak
performance would be 6 GFLOPS per chip [4 ops per clock]). 

Stream numbers for this 1.5 GHz chip (estimated) would be around                
250 MFLOPS for the triad. Using the triad as a baseline for performance
for this and several others systems and relating it back to 
some estimated cost for several other systems (government purchase 
price only, no recurring costs) this is $70 per MFLOPS sustained 
for the Mckinley (again using triad) ... or more than the CRAY SV2 
($65), EV6($55), EV7 ($50), Pentium 4 ($30).

Interesting number ... the high-end IA-64 stuff does not look 
cheap when stream triad defines sustained performance. Of course, 
blocking for cache will push the sustained number up (maybe alot
and on all the systems), but you would think that QCHEM stuff 
they run at PNNL (G98) will be mostly memory bound and therefore 
the stream triad sustained performance is not too far off.

I am not sure this looks like a very good deal. 


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