TACC “Stampede” to Go Live in January

TACC’s “Stampede” supercomputer should be among the top five supercomputers on the TOP500 list once it launches in January.

The Texas Advanced Computing Center plans to go live on January 7 with “Stampede,” a ten-petaflop supercomputer predicted to be the most powerful Intel supercomputer in the world once it launches.

Stampede should also be among the top five supercomputers in the TOP500 list when it goes live, Jay Boisseau, TACC’s director, said at the Intel Developer Forum Sept. 11.

Stampede was announced a bit more than two years ago. Specs include 272 terabytes of total memory and 14 petabytes of disk storage. TACC said the compute nodes would include “several thousand” Dell Stallion servers, with each server boasting dual 8-core Intel E5-2680 processors and 32 gigabytes of memory. In addition, TACC will include a special pre-release version of the Intel MIC, or “Knights Bridge” architecture, which has been formally branded as Xeon Phi.

Interestingly, the thousands of Xeon compute nodes should generate just 2 teraflops worth of performance, with the remaining 8 generated by the Xeon Phi chips, which provide highly parallelized computational power for specialized workloads.

Stampede will also include a “large number of empty slots,” enabling the supercomputer to scale out. It was designed to accommodate future generations of the Xeon Phi architecture, Boisseau said. Stampede’s aggregate peak performance should increase to at least 15 petaflops when these future chips are added.

All components—compute nodes, visualization nodes, large shared memory nodes, and file system—will be integrated with an FDR 56 Gb/s InfiniBand network for extreme scalability, which will be supplied by Mellanox.

The goal of Stampede is to support hundreds of compute-intensive projects from around the United States, as well as around the world, Boisseau added: “It’s really about the science.” Potential projects include hurricane tracking, modeling turbulence across airframes, and making sense of drought resistance across the “tree of life,” or the half million known plant species. “Our mission is about all of science,” he said.

Stampede is part of the National Science Foundation’s eXtreme Digital program; the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) consortium comprises more than a dozen universities and two research laboratories. The NSF kicked in $27.5 million for theproject, and the total investment is expected to be worth more than $50 million over four years. The Stampede project may be renewed in 2017.


Image: TACC/YouTube