IBM system in Warsaw University is the most energy efficient supercomputer in the world

The Green 500 report announced yesterday found that the most energy efficient supercomputer in the world is the IBM system installed in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling (ICM), at the University of Warsaw.

“Nautilus” is a development system for hybrid computer architectures – runs on Linux and it is based on QS22 Blade servers. It produces more than 536 Mflops (millions of floating point operations per second) per one watt. Nautilus has been ranked 221 in the latest Top500 list of supercomputers, which was announced earlier this week.

IBM has already installed the two-rack system which is now up and running. ICM will use Nautilus for high-end computer-intensive research projects in the areas of computer visualization, medical imaging, astrophysics, bioinformatics, fluid flow simulations and weather forecasting. Hybrid computing machines, based on PowerXCell8i processors like Nautilus are ‘smarter’ than the usual systems, because they are able to reach greater performance while reducing the power consumption.
“Together with IBM, we are starting in Poland a new trend, which I would call green revolution in high-end technology. We believe that the world should be greener. That is why we decided to build our supercomputer with that idea in mind, choosing technology, similar to the one used in world’s fastest supercomputer Roadrunner.” – said Professor Marek Niezgódka, ICM Director.

One of the first technical prototype activities was working with DDR InfiniBand on the QS22 blades as well as tuning the PowerXCell8i processors to operate at a clock-speed of 4Ghz which results in further increase of the theoretical peak performance of the cluster to 30 TFlops. Future plans include further development of hybrid computer architectures in which PowerXCell8i processors are used as accelerators for traditional x86 based nodes (i.e. AMD Opteron based BladeCenter LS21 blades).

“According to some recent reports, the energy losses in conventional systems range between 40 and 70 percent. On average, for every 100 units of energy piped into a data center, only 3 units are used for actual computing. More than half goes to cooling the servers. Nautilus, based on IBM technology, makes supercomputing smarter – greener and more efficient. We at IBM are pleased to have the lead in this project” – said Krzysztof Bulaszewski, Systems and Technology Group Manager, IBM Poland.


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