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By GCN Staff

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Spirit supercomputer at the Air Force Research Laboratory

SGI's ICE heats up DOD's Spirit supercomputer

SGI has completed installation of the ICE X high performance computing system that powers the Defense Department’s Spirit supercomputer, the 14th fastest supercomputer in the world, and the fastest dedicated system within DOD.

The SGI ICE X has been deployed as part of DOD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP), which provides compute resources for the Air Force Research Laboratory at the DOD Supercomputing Research Center.

Named after the B2 Stealth bomber, Spirit is already being used for research such as quantum mechanical simulations with computational time that, SGI says in an announcement, “scales linearly with respect to the number of atoms.”

"Spirit is significantly faster than our previously available platform for running these linear-scaling calculations, which are becoming viable for production level work," said Gary Kedziora, an HPCMP computational materials scientist. This lets scientists “model larger and more complex materials using predictive quantum mechanical methods on thousands of SGI ICE X processor cores."

The ICE X system powers Spirit with 144 T of memory and one of the largest and fastest pure compute InfiniBand clusters, SGI said. Running on the standard Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, Spirit is housed in 32 racks and includes 2,304 compute blades with cold-sink technology. It has 9,216 sockets in 73,728 cores that are powered by Intel Xeon E5 processors operating at 2.6 GHz.

It can achieve a peak performance of over 1.5 petaflops (quadrillion floating point operations per second).  Spirit also has 6.72 petabytes of SGI InfiniteStorage 5500 storage.

The system is already seeing a lot of use. "Our customers are flocking to the fastest system in the Department of Defense, finding that their applications are performing significantly better on the new system," stated Jeff Graham, the director of the Air Force Research Lab, who added that Spirit has boosted performance on DOD applications by more than 27 percent on average.

Posted by John Breeden II on Jul 09, 2013 at 10:49 AM


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