NCKU creates record-breaking supercomputers

•Publication Date:11/20/2013
•Source: Taiwan Today

Tainan City-based National Cheng Kung University Supercomputing Research Center unveiled Nov. 18 its record-breaking CK-Star flexible topology switchless supercomputer and high-density node GS-R22PHL supercomputer.

Using Acer Altos R380 F2 as the basic nodes, CK-Star was produced by linking eight computers without switches, breaking the performance efficiency record held by Intel Inc. The GS-R22PHL, when equipped with four Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors, can perform at 3.7 teraflops, or 3.7 trillion floating-point operations per second, the world’s highest computing power for a single-node server and comparable to 10 conventional servers, NCKU said.

According to NCKU, CK-Star was developed by SRC Director Hwang Chi-chuan and visiting scholar Deng Yuefan, a professor at New York-based Stony Brook University and researcher at mainland China’s National Supercomputer Center in Jinan, using servers provided by Taiwan-based Acer Inc. The GS-R22PHL was jointly created by NCKU and New Taipei City-based Gigabyte Technology Co. Ltd.

“Traditional cluster-based supercomputers require switches to control the nodes and inter-nodal communication,” Hwang said. “The drawback is when the number of nodes increases, the switches may become a performance bottleneck. CK-Star does not require switches, thus breaking through this bottleneck and allowing for limitless expansion of computing nodes.”

“Network communication with switches is also energy consuming, typically using up to 50 percent of total consumption. CK-Star is therefore high performance and energy efficient.”

According to Deng, CK-Star’s network topology can be adjusted to achieve desired performance. Its flexible framework open a new route for the development of high-performance computing systems, with promising research and commercial applications, he added.

The GS-R22PHL can be equipped with up to eight double-slot coprocessors/graphics unit cards. Whether for workstations or high-performance computing, the GS-R22PHL holds huge business potential, Hwang said.