High-Performance Computing | News

National Cheng Kung U Develops Switchless Cluster Supercomputer

The National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Supercomputing Research Center (RSC) in Taiwan has developed a switchless cluster supercomputer, called CK-Star.

CK-Star connects eight Acer Altos R380 F2 servers with Intel Xeon E5-2630 v2 processors and Intel Xeon Phi 7120P coprocessors to achieve 15 teraFLOPS (15 trillion floating-point operations). According to NCKU, the CK-Star "has produced record-breaking computer performance at 80.2 percent for four nodes and 77.3 percent for eight nodes, beating Intel’s previous world record of 79.6 percent for four nodes and 76.1 percent for eight nodes."

Unlike traditional cluster supercomputers, which use switches to control interaction between the computer nodes, the CK-Star uses a switchless design. According to NCKU, switches introduce a performance bottleneck when there are a large number of nodes in the cluster, and they also consume considerable power, as much as 50 percent of the total power consumption of a traditional cluster supercomputer.

"CK-Star has an innovative structure and an enhanced performance. It has overcome the limitations of switches and solved the problem of high power dissipation through switches," said Yuefan Deng, one of the developers of CK-Star, in a prepared statement.

CK-Star is not the first record-breaking supercomputer built by NCKU RSC. The center also collaborated with Gigabyte to develop the GS-R22PHL supercomputer. The GS-R22PHL has been recorded to reach 3.7 teraFLOPS (3.7 trillion floating-point operations) and is the highest performing single supercomputer to date, according to NCKU.

CK-Star was built by Chi-Chuan Hwang, director of NCKU RSC, and Yuefan Deng of mainland China's National Supercomputing Center in Jinan (NSCCJN), in collaboration with an international team of researchers in Asia and the United States. Yuefan Deng is also a distinguished professor at the State University of New York (SUNY).

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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