AMD and NVIDIA Power World's Strongest Supercomputer, Titan

Over 50 million cores enable seven times more performance for the same power

By Sebastian Pop on November 14th, 2012 09:06 GMT
The Titan may just be AMD's most bittersweet achievement to date, since it comes at a time when the company is in dire enough straits that it has hired a bank to explore financial options, including a sellout.

We won't talk about that though, since we've already covered the matter here. Instead, we will see just how the Jaguar evolved.

Jaguar was the initial name of the supercomputer located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, but the setup has come a long way from 2009.

Jaguar was powered only by AMD Opteron processors and had a performance of 2.3 PFLOPS (petaflops).

Now called Titan, the system actually gets most of its processing might from NVIDIA Tesla K20X GPU compute accelerators.

AMD chips still make up the core of the installation though. Each of the 2336 nodes have a 16-core Interlagos unit (AMD Opteron 6276) and eight Nvidia Tesla K20X (2688 CUDA core) cards.

This means a total of 18,688 Opteron chips and 18,688 Tesla cards, or 299,008 x86 processor cores and 50,233,344 CUDA cores.

Thus, with over 50 million cores, Titan has a performance of 17.59 PFLOPS, seven times faster than the Jaguar for practically the same power usage.

On that note, the Titan is 16.88 times faster than Roadrunner, the first PETAFLOP system ever created, and which went online four years ago. It was made by IBM and had 6,480 dual-core AMD Opterons and 12,960 IBM PowerXCell 8i (8-core Cell CPU).

As if this was not enough, Titan can supposedly push itself to 27 petaflops if the situation really calls for it (17.59 is the score given by the Linpack benchmark).

“AMD’s impressive results in the latest edition of this prominent list underscore our strong focus on creating industry-leading technologies that allow our customers to capture and analyze massive amounts of data for areas of science that will ultimately shape our future,” said Suresh Gopalakrishnan, corporate vice president and general manager, AMD Server Business Unit.
ORNL Titan supercomputer
   ORNL Titan supercomputer
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