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IBM Journal of Research and Development

Hybrid Computing Systems   Abstract

IBM BladeCenter QS22: Design, performance, and utilization in hybrid computing systems

by J.-S. Vogt,
R. Land,
H. Boettiger,
Z. Krnjajic,
and H. Baier
The IBM BladeCenter® QS22 is a blade server that is based on two IBM PowerXCell™ 8i processors. This server is the successor of the QS21 server, which delivered excellent multicore Cell Broadband Engine® (Cell/B.E.) performance for workstation, server, and supercomputer customers. The IBM PowerXCell 8i processor represents a second generation of the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture. It significantly improves floating-point performance and allows for larger memory configurations. In this paper, we provide an overview of the architecture and design of this newer QS22 system and explain some of the design decisions. We discuss hardware and application performance, power efficiency, manageability, and configuration options, and how these factors affect hybrid system configurations. Finally, we briefly describe two hybrid system configurations that utilize the QS22 system. One configuration involves the Roadrunner system at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the first one-petaflops supercomputer in the world. The second configuration involves a hybrid system with a PCI Express® switch used for coupling.

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