NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701) will launch the new “SX-Aurora TSUBASA C401-8” for data centers in an “SX-Aurora TSUBASA” vector supercomputer that offers 2.5 times the computing performance and twice the power efficiency of previous models.
In this product, the number of cores has been increased from the previous 10 cores to 16 cores, and a new L3 cache has been adopted to achieve faster computation performance. In addition, the adoption of state-of-the-art processes has resulted in improved power efficiency.
The new system will be utilized for large-scale scientific computing at Tohoku University’s Science Center (Tohoku University). Tohoku University is scheduled to begin operating the system in August 2023, featuring a total of 4,032 Vector Engines (VE) and a total theoretical computing performance of approximately 21 PFLOPS (Petaflops), making it the world’s highest performance* vector-based supercomputer system.
Tohoku University has already adopted previous versions of the SX Series for a wide variety of applications in various areas, including manufacturing, such as the design of airplanes and power generation turbines, where large-scale numerical fluid simulation plays an important role. Other applications include disaster mitigation simulation, such as the prediction of damage from tsunami or river inundation. This is in addition to simulations useful for daily living, such as risk assessment for heat stroke. Moreover, the university has started to explore the applications of quantum computing with the help of the SX Series, and going forward, Tohoku University will continue to expand contributions to a wide range of research and development.
The German Meteorological Agency “Deutscher Wetterdienst” (DWD) has also evaluated the power efficiency of this system and is scheduled to introduce it in September 2023 for the purpose of augmenting its weather forecasting system.
In recent years, the role of information in society has evolved rapidly, and supercomputers are now being used to help solve social challenges such as the prediction of disasters and changes in energy needs.
As part of this, there is a greater need for a next-generation, energy-efficient computational infrastructure that is capable of analyzing more sophisticated problems and handling large amounts of diverse data.
Against this backdrop, NEC has developed a new power-saving SX-Aurora TSUBASA that incorporates a large number of card-type VEs that combine LSI technologies and high-density packaging technologies, as well as high-efficiency cooling technologies that NEC has cultivated over many years of supercomputer development.
Main features of new system include the following:
1. Enhanced computing performance (2.5 times compared to conventional systems)
The number of cores in the CPU has increased from 10 to 16, while the memory bandwidth has been improved by 1.6 times and the memory capacity has been increased by 2 times when compared to the existing model. In addition, the new L3 caching system, which is highly valued by users, marks the first time that the SX Series has double mounted the Last Level Cache, which contributes to accelerating computing performance by 2.5 times when compared to conventional products.
2. Realization of high power-efficiency (twice as high as conventional models)
In addition to high performance, the new system delivers high power-efficiency that has been doubled when compared to conventional products, making it well-suited for responding to recent power problems among supercomputer systems in data centers.
3. Continued use of traditional SX-Aurora TSUBASA programming assets
This system can run applications used in the existing SX-Aurora TSUBASA as they are. In addition, the programs are automatically optimized to the data center model and can be accelerated simply by compiling Fortran and C/C ++ programs, without the need for special programming.
“Tohoku University Cyberscience Center has been using vector supercomputers since the introduction of ‘SX-1’ in 1986. The current supercomputer ‘AOBA’, which has been in operation since October 2020, is also based on the ‘SX-Aurora TSUBASA’ and has been used by a wide variety of people with consistently high utilization rates. In order to meet this high demand, we have decided to introduce a new generation of SX-Aurora TSUBASA. With this new generation, the Center will continue to contribute to the advancement of science and technology in an even broader and more diverse range of fields,” said Professor Takuo Suganuma, Director of the Center for Cyberscience at Tohoku University.
“In addition to the newly announced ‘SX-Aurora TSUBASA’ data center model, NEC will continue to promote systems suited to customers’ environments, including on-site models, edge models and vector engines. Through these efforts, we aim to expand the use of vector supercomputers and actively contribute to solving issues in society and the marketplace,” said Yasuo Mogaki, Managing Director, Advanced Platform Division, NEC Corporation.
*According to NEC research as of October 7, 2022
About NEC Corporation
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