AMD Takes Down Another Supercomputer Deal In Europe

www.nextplatform.com
6 min read
fairly difficult
The Dutch national supercomputer, called "Cartesius," which is used for HPC education and research, is getting rather long in the tooth with some of its
components being installed as far back as 2013. So the government of the Netherlands and the SURF supercomputing center are shelling out €20 million to build a new and as yet unnamed system at the SURF facility in the Amsterdam Data Tower (shown in the feature image) in the Dutch capital.

Among architectural details, which we always find interesting, the deal to build this new system is interesting because Bull/Atos, the incumbent system supplier and clearly on the rise in the HPC sector in Europe, lost out to Lenovo, the heir to IBM's former HPC business in Europe.

HPC compute capacity tends to scale, in a very general sense, with a country's gross domestic product and its population size, and given that Holland has a GDP of around $1 trillion (17th in the world) and only 17.1 million people in its country (69th in the world), we would not expect for the Netherlands to have an exascale-class machine. Moreover, the Netherlands is a participant in the PRACE collective in Europe, and has access to pre-exascale and soon exascale machines in this fashion when its researchers and corporate customers need access.

The base Cartesius machine was eight years ago at the SURF center by French system maker Bull based on its Bullx B710 and Bullx B720 blade servers using 40 Gb/sec FDR InfiniBand as the interconnect between the nodes. There are a mix of Intel processor types in the machine, with 12,960 "Ivy Bridge" Xeon E5 cores (rated at 249 teraflops peak in aggregate floating point operations per second at double precision) in what SURF calls thin nodes. There are 25,920 cores based on "Haswell" Xeon E5s (rated at a combined 1.08 petaflops) and another 5,664 cores in thin nodes based on "Broadwell" Xeon E5s. There are also some fat nodes in the Cartesius based on even older "Sandy Bridge" Xeon E5s with an aggregate of 22 teraflops and 256 GB per node, plus a handful of nodes based on Intel's now defunct "Knights Landing" Xeon Phi processors, but only with 1,152 cores…
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