[Beowulf] Sporthall 500 considerations

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Thu Dec 18 06:46:13 PST 2008

Heh Chris,

Thanks for dropping a line. Heh, on your own department i happen to  
see that in systems support
you've got a collegue Andrew Underwood. Would you mind asking him  
whether he's family from Paul Underwood,
with 3 persons (Tony Reix, Paul and me says the fool) we're searching  
for Wagstaffs
see http://wapedia.mobi/en/Wagstaff_prime Paul lives in  
Glouchestershire, UK.

I see the Animal Logic machine has L5420's, which are 50 watt TDP.  
Very interesting. Didn't know Intel had printed that many
of the L5420, more common is the E5420.

What amazes me is that top500 claims it delivers 10 gflop see http:// 

This is pretty weird, as i tend to remember it can execute handsdown
2 vector instructions a cycle (SSE2) and that times 4 cores (maybe on  
paper even 3 vector instructions).
So that gives it a theoretic peek of 2 * 2 * 2.5Ghz * 4 = 80 Gflop.

Of course scaling to 4.0 is going to be tough, most software i see  
scaling to 6.89 at such 8 core nodes.

Any explanation for this low number of gflops that top500 claims  
L5420 delivers?

Interesting they go for energy efficient cpu's, knowing Australia is  
worlds biggest exporter of coals.

Can you give some explanation on how much the cost is of power in  
Australia for supercomputers,
is it a factor 20 cheaper than it is for normal households when using  
it in those quantities?

Oh on animations and such. Yeah i worked with designers who produce  
animations as i needed them in my own
products. They also work for companies that need animations for big  
movie edits and of course the same guys create
TV-commercials. You know the 20 second ads on TV probably quite well.  
Majority of income of the best animators
is making commercials and advertisement animations. Such an ad  
usually takes 6 months to get created (the graphics)
by a team of about 2. Some sort of dual core cpu is more than enough  
to render everything. Of course by now that would
be 2 Q6600's, one for each designer, simply because they have a cost  
of near nothing.

Very interesting that a nation (australia) where a part of the  
population just receives 2 TV channels has such a big
presence of Animal Logic.

Maybe it is the usual salesreason. The psychology of technology  
really is a convincing argument sometimes to get deals for a huge  
price. Producer from Animal Logics enters office from a big  
multinational. Director from multinational: "i need a TV commercial  
and i need it within a month for product X".

Animal Logic Producer: "we can garantuee that our huge supercomputer  
at animal logics can produce all what you ask for on time".

Dang there you go as a 2 person company, job goes once again to a big  
company, even though you would've done it in 14 days and maybe at a  
tenth of the budget.


p.s. considering it is so power efficient that cluster from animal  
logics, maybe they can sell some system time to interested parties,  
maybe google australia?

On Dec 18, 2008, at 5:31 AM, Chris Samuel wrote:

> ----- "Vincent Diepeveen" <diep at xs4all.nl> wrote:
>> It sure takes a couple of minutes to render animations in high
>> resolutions, yet i'm quite amazed you need more hardware for this,
>> yes even a cluster.
> I might be missing something with your argument, but
> surely if this was the case then there would no need
> for the *only* Australian HPC system on the Top500 to
> be at Animal Logic (Happy Feet) and the 4 New Zealand
> systems on the Top500 to all to be identical clusters
> at Weta Digital (Kong, LotR, etc) ?
> Sad that neither country can manage to get a
> scientific HPC system on there (for now).. :-(
> cheers,
> Chris
> -- 
> Christopher Samuel - (03) 9925 4751 - Systems Manager
>  The Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing
>  P.O. Box 201, Carlton South, VIC 3053, Australia
> VPAC is a not-for-profit Registered Research Agency
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