Electronic Design

Supercomputer Throws 102-Gbit/s Fastball

The ASC Purple supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently stepped up to the mound and threw some real heat. Working with IBM, researchers at LLNL demonstrated over 102 Gbytes/s of sustained read and write performance to a single file in an experiment named Project Fastball.

ASC Purple used 416 individual storage controllers combined with 104 Power-based eServer p575 nodes to set this world record. The file system totaled 1.6 petabytes. IBM’s General Parallel File System software managed the information transfer between thousands of processors and disk storage devices.

The software is an advanced file system for high-performance computing clusters. It provides high-speed file access to applications executing on multiple nodes of a Linux or AIX cluster. Over 1000 clients drove workloads to the file system during the experiment, demonstrating its scalability.

Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) is key to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s mission of ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons program without nuclear testing. Designed by IBM, ASC Purple is the third most powerful supercomputer in the world, according to the November 2005 Top 500 List of Supercomputers.

Researchers expect Project Fastball’s results to drive data-intensive applications in customized medicine, entertainment, homeland security, and other high-performance computing endeavors. They also say this development will be critical as the world’s top supercomputers mover closer to functional performance at a single petaflop and more.


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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