ASUS and ClusterVision-built 200 teraflop supercomputer aims for Top500 list leadership

    ASUS servers have proven their capabilities again as part of the PC2 supercomputer at the University of Paderborn, which was co-developed by ASUS and ClusterVision to meet the university’s needs in advanced computational design and performance. The 10,000-core, 200 teraflop HPC cluster is anticipated to claim a high ranking in the next Top500 global supercomputer listing.

    The opportunity

    The latest-generation HPC cluster built by ASUS and ClusterVision is located in the Paderborn Center for Parallel Computing, known as PC2.

    PC2 is an integral interdisciplinary institute of the University of Paderborn, specializing in distributed and parallel high performance computing. In order to meet the needs of PC2 and offer ultra-strong computing power, ASUS has worked closely with ClusterVision and applied the latest technologies to build an HPC cluster especially for PC2.

    “It is always exciting for our company to work on Top500-class systems like the new HPC cluster at Paderborn. Large scale, complex systems like this understandably represent a showcase of possibilities to the HPC community, both in academia and commercial enterprise, and enable our team to draw upon and demonstrate all of their experience in system design and their expertise in build and configuration. Working in partnership with ASUS allowed us to meet the demanding specifications required by the university for this system,” said Christopher Huggins, Commercial Director at ClusterVision.

    The outcome

    The 200 teraflop HPC cluster contains four kinds of compute nodes, including 552 small nodes, 20 large nodes, 40 GPU nodes, and 2 SMP nodes. ASUS servers provide the small compute nodes and GPU nodes for extreme computing performance.

    For the 552 small nodes, ASUS applied a half-SSI (6.8" x 16.7") serverboard. Its small size saves space within the cluster and delivers extreme computing power with two Intel® Xeon® E5-2670 2.6GHz processors with 16 cores each, and high density memory with 16 DDR3-1600 DIMMs. Through innovative ASUS design, the small compute nodes offer high density and high performance computing with extensive I/O expandability that are ideal for HPC and IPDC applications as well as all applications that require true high density.

    ASUS also supplied the new high-density ESC4000 G2 GPU/co-processor server for the 40 GPU nodes, designed with leading CPU and GPU hybrid computing power. These GPU nodes house the latest high-density GPU/co-processors and deliver high density computing power, scalable expansion capabilities, high speed, interconnection, and intelligent thermal designs.

    This novel arrangement allows researchers to run a range of applications with optimized performance and make the most of leading HPC acceleration technologies.

    The products

    The new supercomputer uses 10,000 Intel® Xeon® processor cores arranged in 614 compute nodes, giving an anticipated performance of 200 teraflops at less than half the cost and power consumption of a CPU-only system.

    Among the 614 compute nodes, 552 nodes use ASUS N1724-E7 rack-mount compute servers, each with two 16-core Intel® Xeon® E5-2670 2.6GHz processors. The ASUS N1724-E7 offers high density 16–DIMM memory in a half-size serverboard, providing high density for data center environments as well as housing PCI Express 3.0 expandability, which ensures higher bandwidth (up to 8 gigatexel per lane) to meet the requirements of intense HPC applications.

    Additionally, compute power is significantly enhanced with 40 ASUS ESC4000 G2 GPU nodes, arranged in two different configurations. One configuration applies Intel® Xeon® E5-2670 processors with 32 NVIDIA® Tesla K20 GPUs. The other configuration takes the same arrangement but applies eight Intel® Xeon® Phi™ co-processors to achieve the required acceleration.

    The ASUS ESC4000 G2 supports up to eight PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots for high expandability, compatible with a wide range of cards, especially new Intel® Xeon Phi™ 5110P and 3100 and NVIDIA® Tesla K10/K20 GPU accelerators. It also has an optional riser for a low profile/half-length card and ASUS PIKE. The ASUS ESC4000/FDR G2 is equipped with a 1+1 1620W 80+ Platinum level redundant power supply with power efficiency up to 94% for energy savings and long-term total cost of ownership reduction for users.