Stampede Supercomputer to Use Next-Gen Xeon, MIC "Knights Corner" Accelerators, Nvidia Quadro "Kepler" Graphics Cards

University of Texas to Deploy 10PetaFLOPS Supercomputer

by Anton Shilov
09/22/2011 | 01:33 PM

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas announced plans to build a supercomputer capable of performing ten quadrillion floating point operations per second (10 1015 or 10petaFLOPS). The Stampede supercomputer will be the first system in the world to use eight-core Intel Xeon E5-series "Sandy Bridge-EP" processors as well as Intel MIC "Knights Corner" accelerators designed to process highly parallel workloads.


"Stampede is the most powerful x86-based Linux HPC cluster announced for deployment in the U.S. at this time, The system builds on TACC's history of continuously deploying larger and more powerful x86 Linux clusters that enable new scientific breakthroughs. It will also be the first large-scale implementation of Intel's MIC architecture-based products," said Jay Boisseau, the director of TACC.

When completed in early 2013, Stampede will comprise several thousand Dell "Zeus" servers with each server having two eight-core Intel Xeon E5-series "Sandy Bridge-EP" processors as well as 32GB of memory. In addition, the supercomputer will integrate Intel MIC "Knights Corner" accelerators (with 50+ cores and made using 22nm process technology) to process highly parallel workloads. Several thousands of Xeon processors will offer about 2PFLOPS of peak performance, whereas the MIC highly-parallel accelerators will provide additional 8PFLOPS of performance.

Furthermore, Stampede will offer 128 next-generation Nvidia Quadro graphics processing units (GPUs) code-named Kepler for remote visualization, 16 Dell servers with 1TB of shared memory and 2 GPUs each for large data analysis, and a high-performance Lustre file system for data-intensive computing. All components will be integrated with an InfiniBand FDR 56Gb/s network for extreme scalability.

Altogether, Stampede will have a peak performance of 10PFLOPS, 272TB of total memory, and 14PB of disk storage.

An IBM supercomputer

"Intel is proud to be a core part of enabling the next-generation of scientific discovery for XSEDE*'s users. Our goal is to provide consistency with the next-generation of Intel processors, co-processors and software so that our nation's best scientists can focus on scientific discovery and not computer science," said Anthony Neal-Graves, vice president and general manager of Workstations and MIC computing at Intel.

The Stampede will be one of the world's most powerful supercomputers when completed. TACC  also announced that the current system is  only the beginning as they plan to expand ”Stampede” in the future and increase  the total system performance by more than 50% to 15PFLOPS with the  help of future generations of Intel products. Today's most powerful supercomputer is K computer based on SPARC64 VIIIfx 2.0GHz processors that  has max performance of around 8PFLOPS.

"My group, in particular, is excited about the opportunities Stampede offers to greatly accelerate our work in quantifying uncertainties in computer models of dynamics of polar ice sheets, global seismic wave propagation, and whole-earth plate tectonics," said Omar Ghattas, professor of geological sciences and mechanical engineering at the University of Texas.

*XSEDE - Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment consortium that comprises more than a dozen universities and two research laboratories.