TOWARDS PETAFLOPS

Starting from 1999, Research Computing Center has decided to focus main attention on cluster supercomputers. The outcome of this decision wasn’t obvious at that time, but it has proved to be a right one as the time passed. The first cluster consisted of 18 compute nodes connected via a high-speed SCI network. Each node contained two Intel Pentium III/500 MHz processors, 1 GB of RAM and a 3.2 GB HDD. The system’s peak performance was 18 GFlops. The SCI network with a high data transfer rate (80 MB/s) and low latency (5.5 ns) made this system very effective for solving a wide range of problems. Research groups formed around the first cluster started using a new type of technology – parallel computers with distributed memory in order to boost their research.


In 2002, the second cluster with a standard low-cost and effective Fast Ethernet technology for communication and control was installed. This cluster contained 20 nodes of one type (2*Intel Pentium III/850 MHz, 1 GB, 2*HDD 15 GB) along with 24 nodes of another type (2*Intel Pentium III/1 GHz, 1 GB, HDD 20 GB). With a total number of 88 processors, it had peak performance of 82 GFlops.


In 2004, in the frame of a joint project of three departments of Moscow State University (Research Computing Center, Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics and Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics) a new data storage was installed. It included Hewlett-Packard XP-1024 disk array along with an automated tape library Hewlett-Packard ESL 9595 with a total capacity of 40 TB. In the same year a new Hewlett-Packard cluster with 160 AMD Opteron 2.2 GHz processors and a new InfiniBand network technology was launched in the supercomputing center. This cluster peak performance exceeded 700 GFlops. By that time more than 50 research groups from MSU, Russian Academy of Sciences and other Russian universities became active users of MSU supercomputing facilities.


Now Moscow State University Supercomputing Center exploits "Lomonosov" and “Lomonosov-2” systems, SKIF MSU “Chebyshev”, IBM Blue Gene/P and several small HPC clusters, with a peak performance of the “Lomonosov” and "Lomonosov-2" at 1.7 and 2.5 PFlops respectively. Taking the supercomputing road more than ten years ago Moscow State University Supercomputing Center is planning to move forward to exaflops and further in the future.

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