Titan: World’s Fastest Supercomputer at 20 petaflops Unveiled

By Monday, October 29, 2012 0 Permalink 0

The Cray XK7 supercomputer contains a total of 18,688 nodes and each node is based on a 16-core AMD Opteron 6274 processor and an Nvidia Tesla K20 Graphical Processing Unit (GPU). To be used for researching climate change and other data-intensive tasks, the supercomputer is equipped with more than 700 terabytes of memory. Despite the increased processing power, the combined use of traditional CPUs and latest GPUs in Titan means only a marginal increase in electricity consumption while using the same amount of space as its Jaguar predecessor.

“One challenge in supercomputers today is power consumption,” says Jeff Nichols, associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences.

“Combining GPUs and CPUs in a single system requires less power than CPUs alone and is a responsible move toward lowering our carbon footprint. Titan will provide unprecedented computing power for research in energy, climate change, materials and other disciplines to enable scientific leadership.”

As GPUs are known to handle a lot more work compared to CPUs in a given time, over 299,000 CPU cores will be guiding simulations while the GPUs will be doing the real heavy work thus enabling researchers and scientists to carry out their scientific calculations at greater speeds and more accuracy.

“Titan will allow scientists to simulate physical systems more realistically and in far greater detail,” says James Hack, director of ORNL’s National Center for Computational Sciences.

Some of the applications for which the Titan will be used include a nanoscale analysis of important materials such as steels, iron-nickel alloys and advanced permanent magnets that will help drive future electric motors and generators; and modeling of large-molecule hydrocarbon fuels such as the gasoline surrogate isooctane.

Find the press release here.