SGI Creates 10,000-Core Concept Computer

Wednesday, November 19, 2008



Silicon Graphics has come up with a new concept of Molecule using mostly off-the-shelf consumer electronics components that packs in 10,000 cores into a single rack.

While the computer sounds like a powerhouse, it isn't real. But its a demonstration of how chips and memory using in personal computers can be brought together to create a powerhouse, says SGI.

Engineers at the company's research labs say they drew up the system to show how consumer electronics technologies could be applied to overcome some of the limits supercomputers face today.

The Molecule computer can handle 20,000 threads of execution, about 40 times more than a single rack x86 cluster system and was designed around an Intel Atom N330 chip, says SGI.

The computer would offer the computing power and memory bandwidth of more than 750 high-end PCs, yet it would consume less than half the power and less than 1.4 percent of the physical space.

"The Molecule concept computer balances processor speed, sustained memory bandwidth and power consumption," says SGI in a statement.

Most general purpose supercomputers have up to 512 cores in a rack but can expand to tens of thousands of CPUs.

The largest supercomputers use up to 100,000 cores - or even more - spread across hundreds of racks to deliver very high floating point performance and application flexibility.

The SGI Molecule concept computer is focused more on memory bandwidth, density and riding the evolution of consumer CPUs, says the company.

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