Experimental computing systems: Blue Gene/L

IBM Blue Gene/L frost In March 2005, NCAR became one of the first sites in the world to receive an IBM Blue Gene (BG) supercomputing system. The system, named frost, consists of a single BG rack (2,048 compute processors, 64 I/O processors, 5.73 TF peak) and appears in the 25th Top500 List (released in June 2005) as the 61st fastest computer in the world. Frost is an experimental system and supports the efforts of 12 researchers from NCAR, the University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB), and the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD) to investigate and address the technical obstacles to achieving practical petascale computing in geoscience, aerospace engineering, and mathematical applications.

Specific topics of interest to the researchers include scalable high-order methods for climate modeling, dynamic data-driven wildfire modeling, high-fidelity multidisciplinary simulations of modern aircraft, and scalable domain-decomposition and multigrid solvers. Acquisition of frost would not have been possible without the substantial financial support from the National Science Foundation, UCB, UCD, the IBM Shared University Research program, and NCAR.

To consolidate experimental system research in SCD, the Research Systems Evaluation Team (ReSET) was formed in late 2005. The mission of ReSET is to administer and evaluate strategically selected experimental systems for the CISL laboratory in such a way as to gain the maximum knowledge of and impact from emerging technologies. ReSET is housed in the CSS section, but collaborates with staff members from other sections and groups across CISL to accomplish its mission. In mid-November, frost became the first experimental system managed by ReSET.



FY2005 Annual Report