CSCS Orders First Next-Generation Cray XMT Supercomputer

Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. today announced that the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Manno, Switzerland has awarded a contract to Cray to acquire a next-generation Cray XMT supercomputer. The announcement, which is being made in conjunction with a CSCS-hosted workshop focused on large-scale data analysis, marks Cray’s first order for the Company’s next-generation Cray XMT system.

CSCS, which is currently home to a Cray XT5 supercomputer nicknamed “Rosa” and was also the recipient of the first-ever Cray XE6 system, will use its next-generation Cray XMT supercomputer for solving problems that require large-scale data analysis. The massively multithreaded system will be part of a new project at CSCS called EUREKA, which will provide Swiss scientists with dedicated resources for large-scale data analysis services. The proposed facility will be used for large-scale analysis of unstructured data and data mining, and is designed for parallel applications that are dynamically changing, require random access to shared memory and typically do not run well on conventional systems.

“The next generation of the Cray XMT supercomputer is purpose-built for performing real-time analysis of web-scale data,” said Shoaib Mufti, director of knowledge management in Cray’s Custom Engineering group. “The system is ideal for analyzing dynamically changing data with complex relationships between time, space, events and communities, and excels at analytics tasks including pattern matching, scenario development, behavioral prediction, anomaly identification and graph analysis. The match between the needs of CSCS users and the strengths of the next-generation Cray XMT is an excellent fit, and we are very pleased that CSCS has signed the first contract for our new system.”

Dominik Ulmer, General Manager at CSCS said, “Many researchers are faced with massive volumes of data through experiments, observations and simulations on a vast array of scientific applications such as material sciences, medicine genomics, high-energy physics, climate research and astrophysics. The next-generation Cray XMT will enable our scientists to perform data analysis applications that differ significantly from the current high performance computing workloads in that the data structures are often irregular (based on strings, trees, graphs and networks) without the high degree of spatial and temporal locality seen in physics-based simulations using regular matrices.”

Introduced in 2006, the Cray XMT supercomputer features a massive, multithreaded processing architecture designed for large data-driven problems that exist in unrelated and diverse data sets. Each processor in the Cray XMT system can handle up to 128 concurrent threads. The system is architected to scale from 16 processors up to multiple thousands of processors that can operate on multiple terabytes of shared physical memory.

In 2011, Cray plans to launch the next-generation of the Cray XMT supercomputer, and CSCS is expected to receive its system later this year.