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  • Blugene

    New Architecture for Supercomputers — Not Just For Scientists Anymore

    While today’s machines are amazingly fast number crunchers, many data-intensive applications are slowed because of the time it takes to simply access information from the memory chips. The Blue Gene/L design will run these applications much faster because the machine will be populated with data-chip cells optimized for data access. Each chip includes two processors: one for computing and one for communicating, and its own on-board memory. Each of the data-chip cells will work on a small part of a larger problem. This increase in data access speed will make a huge difference in the kinds of results these machines can produce and the kinds of problems they can solve.

    "Machines like Blue Gene/L are designed to handle data-intensive applications like content distribution, simulations, and modeling, webserving, data mining or business intelligence," added Dean.

    NNSA’s Bill Reed, ASCI’s national program leader, lists an impressive array of projects that can make use of this new approach and cites "the continuing need for cost-effective computing to address important national security issues. We need to run these problems in days not months and we need to simultaneously support many scientists across all three NNSA laboratories working on a broad spectrum of technical issues. The value to both national security programs and commercial interests can be dramatic, especially in the biological sciences and medical and pharmaceutical fields."

    IBM and Lawrence Livermore will team up to explore the hardware and software components needed to construct this new computing architecture, and Livermore will provide additional design expertise for the applications that can take advantage of the Blue Gene/L machine.

    Lawrence Livermore will get help on the Blue Gene/L project from collaborators at the DOE’s NNSA, Columbia University, San Diego Supercomputing Center, and Caltech.

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