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  • i_cant_handle_it_anymore_ed i_cant_handle_it_anymore_ed Jul 30, 2010 11:47 AM Flag

    The Week in Review

    HPCwire >> Features
    July 29, 2010

    by Tiffany Trader, Associate Editor, HPCwire

    Here is a collection of highlights from this week's news stream as reported by HPCwire.

    * Cray XE6 Officially Launched

    This week Cray announced the delivery of the first full-size XE6 system (formerly codenamed "Baker"), fulfilling its Q3 production launch deadline. This is an important milestone for Cray, as it marks the first shipment of a production-ready Cray XE6 supercomputer -- the first in a line of such systems that will be shipped to customers over the next few months.

    Aside from saying that it is a multi-cabinet system, Cray did not elaborate on the size of the supercomputer nor did it disclose the name of the customer. Cray did say that it had sent a beta machine to the the Swiss National supercomputing centre (CSCS) in June, in addition to having shipped a number of small, test and development systems to other customers.

    The 20-blade, single-cabinet machine that was delivered to CSCS uses the latest 2.1GHz, 12-core AMD Opteron (Magny-Cours) CPUs and sports 160 compute sockets for a total of 1,920 cores. The system, named Piz Palu, has a theoretical peak performance of 16 teraflops and 2.5 terabytes of memory.

    Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray, thanked the Swiss National Supercomputer Center for its pivotal role in preparing the Cray XE6 supercomputer for full production status. As a beta-testing partner, CSCS and its user community were able test Cray's latest hardware and software technologies and were thus granted early familiarization with the system. As such, the Cray XE6 system is part of a joint collaboration between Cray and CSCS.

    The Cray XE6 includes the much-heralded Gemini interconnect network, with its promise of increased performance and greater fault tolerance over the previous SeaStar technology. The Gemini interconnect also offers better support for Partitioned Global Address Space (PGAS) languages, such as Co-array Fortran (CAF) and Unified Parallel C (UPC). Other enhancements to the XE6 are improved network resiliency, a mature scalable software ecosystem and the latest version of the Cray Linux Environment. The XE6 is fully upgradeable from a Cray XT5 or Cray XT6 system.

    Cray has announced a number of customer wins over the last year for its XE6 line. They include:

    * Korea Meteorological Administration

    * DOE's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)

    * U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

    * Arctic Region Supercomputing Center

    * U.S Army Engineer Research and Development Center

    * National Nuclear Security Administration (in a joint partnership with Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories)

    * Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (which is the managing agent for the High-End Computing Terascale Resource (HECToR) project located at Scotland's University of Edinburgh)

    * National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (through a partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

    As of the May 2010 Cray XE6 "pre-launch," Ungaro revealed the company had already secured more than $200 million in contracts, which brings us to the following paragraph that appears up in this week's announcment:

    - Although Cray has begun shipping Cray XE6 systems, to obtain revenue and cash from these sales, or any future Cray XE6 deliveries, the company must obtain customer acceptances of the systems typically based on a multi-week process of performance, functionality and reliability testing.

    In other words: Cray can only book the revenue once the machine is officially accepted, which can take a while. I can only surmise the financial legalese is meant to temper investor expectations concerning fiscal year projections.

    Full text -

    Go Cra(Z)y!!

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