Start-Up Challenges Blades with Low Cost Supercomputer

A new supercomputer with blistering performance of 60Teraflops running on standard Intel x86 processors?

Canadian start-up OctigaBay Systems says it has developed a supercomputer with blistering performance of 60Teraflops, running on standard Intel x86 processors with the company’s own high speed interconnect and reconfigurable subsystems. The company is positioning its machine against symmetric multiprocessing clusters in price/performance measures, and is trying to move into the enterprise market for high performance servers based on commodity components. However, in this area, it will face tough competition from blade servers.

The OctigaBay 12K system includes up to 12 Opteron CPUs along with the company's own Terabit/sec switch. As many as 1000 of the 58Gflops units can be interconnected to create a 60Tflops system with latencies of 150-200 nanoseconds per box-to-box hop.

The company claims it is creating a new category of computers that break through the performance limits of clusters by opening up a bottleneck in systems I/O. Rather than using external Gigabit Ethernet switches to link multiple systems, OctigaBay has implemented in Xilinx's Virtex II Pro FPGAs an internal system switch that allows separate systems to make native high bandwidth, low latency connections.

The systems are expected to be in field trials next year with as many as a dozen test users, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and a national genome research center.

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