Connection Machine 5 - Littlebear

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Littlebear supercomputer

Thinking Machines

In use: March 1, 1993 - November 1, 1996

Experimental and production use

Peak teraflops: 0.00

Processors: 32

Clock speed: 0.03GHz

Memory (terabytes): 0.00TB

A 32-node Connection Machine-5 (CM-5) from Thinking Machines Corporation arrived at NCAR on April 21, 1993. The CM-5 cost $1.47 million – $46,000 per node – and was paid for with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency funds. By October 1993, about a dozen people were starting to use it.

Following its tradition of naming supercomputers after peaks in the Colorado Rockies, NCAR’s  Scientific Computing Division named the CM-5 (specifically, its control processor) "Littlebear." (Whimsical system administrators then named the CM-5 compile server “Teddybear.”)

Each of the system’s 32 nodes had four vector units and a Sun SPARC microprocessor that could perform 22 million instructions per second. The machine had 1 gigabyte of internal memory (32 megabytes per node) and performed at a peak speed of 128 megaflops per node. The CM-5 also had a large scalable disk array with a UNIX file system and 24 gigabytes available for storing user data.

Within the CM-5, computational and disk storage nodes were integrated into a single architecture that featured scalable input/output, communications, memory, and processing. The CM-5 ran CMost, a Sun-based UNIX operating system that could service multiple users on a time-shared basis.

The CM-5 supported two programming models: data parallel and control parallel. The machine was decommissioned in October 1996.

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