Supercomputers Crank Up in Three Japanese Universities in Collaborative Pursuits

Three universities in Japan have started operation of open source supercomputers designed jointly to enable collaboration among the systems. The T2K Open Supercomputer Alliance machines were built from specifications developed jointly by the University of Tsukuba, The University of Tokyo, and Kyoto University.

In July 2006, the three universities began jointly developing common specifications for each university's next-generation supercomputer with an eye toward using their supercomputers collaboratively. The systems, each delivered by a different vendor, use open source hardware architecture and system software.

The University of Tokyo supercomputer system is comprised of 952 nodes of the Hitachi HA8000-tc/RS425 technical server with four Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors per node. The system as designed achieves a theoretical peak performance of approximately 140 teraflops. A teraflop or "tflop" is the computing power required to process one trillion floating point operations per second. This theoretical peak performance is the fastest in Japan at the time of this announcement, an AMD statement said.

The University of Tsukuba's system was built by Cray Japan and Sumisho Computer Systems and is based on Appro International's Xtreme-X Supercomputer. Equipped with four Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors per node, it can achieve a theoretical peak performance of about 95 tflops.

The Kyoto University's system was built around the Fujitsu HX600 HPC server. It too runs four Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors per node and tops out at a theoretical peak performance of approximately 61 tflops.

The schools are applying the supercomputers to large-scale scientific calculations for researching subatomic particles and nuclear energy, astronomy, climate modeling and weather forecasting, and genetics and biomedical research.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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