According to tech newsgroups, the Titan supercomputer over at Oak Ridge National Laboratory already proudly wears the mantle of being the world’s most powerful supercomputer, but you know what they say about power. Now, the Titan is set to amass more power and obtain the mantle of having the world’s fastest storage system.
The Titan — not to be confused with Nvidia’s graphics card of the same name — is a USENET users ultimate dream computer loaded with 18,688 AMD Opteron 6274 16-core CPUs, and 18,688 Nvidia Tesla K20X GPUs. If you’re counting, this makes Titan a 299,008-core computer. It sports 710TB of memory, with a split of 598TB dedicated to the CPUs and 112TB to the GPUs. Before this new goal of upgrading Titan’s storage, it had 10 petabytes of storage, running at 240GB/sec. The rig can perform around 27 petaflops, and the entire unit cost $97 million. Now, not content with Titan’s superb performance and mind-boggling speed, Oak Ridge is stepping up Titan’s storage game, adding a new file system that has 40PB of storage. Rather than simply upgrading the space, the new file system will also help Titan reach performance speeds of 1.4TB/s.
Oak Ridge’s press release claims that the storage capacity is so enormous that it is the equivalent of 227,000 miles of stacked books, or the distance from Oak Ridge’s facility in Tennessee to the moon. Spider II is composed of 36 of the aforementioned SFA12K-40 systems, each of which contains around 1.12PB of storage capacity.
Perhaps amusingly, even though the Titan is not only the world’s most powerful supercomputer, but now sports the world’s fastest storage system, the amount of projects people have requested to use it for outweigh Titan’s available computing time. So, Oak Ridge had to sift through project applications in order to determine which projects would receive coveted Titan time. Out of the applications, 31 were chosen, and the projects will run on Titan throughout this year, with the supercomputer able to handle around five projects at any given time.
Speedy supercomputers always seem to appear and outrank each other, from IBM’s Sequoia to the million-core Blue Gene/Q Sequoia. Now, though, Titan is living up to its name. With its 40PB of storage and 1.4TB/s peak performance, it can store and access over three years worth of USENET data.