Advanced Simulation and Computing

Advanced Systems Technology Test Beds

  • Compton

  • Cooper

  • Curie

  • Hammer

  • Morgon

  • Shannon

  • Shepard

  • Teller

  • Volta

  • White


As part of NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) project, Sandia has acquired a set of advanced architecture test beds to help prepare applications and system software for the disruptive computer architecture changes that have begun to emerge and will continue to appear as HPC systems approach Exascale.  In contrast to ASC Advanced Technology or Commodity Technology supercomputer platforms, these test bed systems are not for production computing cycles.  Instead, they are intended to be pre-production or first-of-a-kind prototypes to support exploration of a diverse set of architectural alternatives that are possible candidates for future pre-Exascale systems.  While these test beds can be used for node-level exploration they also provide the ability to study inter-node characteristics to understand future scalability challenges.  To date, the test bed systems populate 1-6 racks and have on the order of 50-200 multi-core nodes, many with an attached co-processor or GP-GPU.

The test beds allow for path finding explorations of 1) alternative programming models, 2) architecture-aware algorithms, 3) energy efficient runtime and system software, 4) advanced memory sub-system development and 5) application performance. But that is not all.  Validation of computer architectural simulation studies can also be performed on these early examples of future Exascale platform architectures.  As proxy applications are developed and re-implemented in architecture-centric versions, the developers need these advanced architecture systems to explore how to adapt to an “MPI + X” paradigm, where “X” may be more than one disparate alternative.  This in turn, demands that tools be developed to inform the performance analyses.  ASC has embraced a co-design approach for its future advanced technology systems.  By purchasing from and working closely with the vendors on pre-production test beds, both ASC and the vendors are afforded early guidance and feedback on their paths forward.  This applies not only to hardware, but other enabling technologies such as system software, compilers, and tools.

There are currently several test beds available for use, with more in planning and integration phases. They represent distinct architectural directions and/or unique features important for future study. Examples of the latter are custom power monitors and on-node solid state disks (SSD).

Test Bed

Host Name
Cores per Accelerator /
32 Intel Xeon Phi None N/A Intel OmniPath Trinity Phase 2 processor; Limited access
42 Dual Socket Intel Xeon Sandy Bridge, 2.6 GHz 8-core Intel Xeon Phi
Co-processor (codenamed Knights Corner)
2 per node
57 1.1GHz cores Mellanox Quad Data Rate InfiniBand 80GB SSD per node
36 AMD Kaveri A10-7580K, 4 cores Radeon R7 Graphics N/A Mellanox Fourteen Data Rate (FDR) InfiniBand PowerInsight V2 monitoring device
52 AMD Opteron Interlagos 2.1 GHz 16-core NVIDIA Kepler K20X 2688 732 MHz cores Gemini Cray XK7, Full featured monitoring and control system on restricted network
40 ARM X-Gene 1 processors from APM None N/A 10 gigE Unique CPU architecture
3 Dual socket Intel Xeon Haswell, 16 cores 2 nodes have NVIDIA K80m GPUs 2496x2 562 MHz cores Mellanox FDR InfiniBand SSD; reduced access
9 Five dual socket Intel IvyBridge with Xeon Phi co-processor and four Intel 32-core Haswell nodes Intel Xeon Phi
Co-processor (codenamed Knights Corner)
2 per node
Three with 57 1.1 GHz cores;
Two with 61 1.238 GHz cores
Mellanox Quad Data Rate InfiniBand Hetero testbed on restricted network

Dual IBM Power8, 10 cores


InfiniBand Other

 On restricted network; reduced access
32 Dual socket Intel Xeon Sandy Bridge 8-core NVIDIA Kepler K20X 2 per node 2688 732 MHz cores Mellanox Quad Data Rate InfiniBand Full PCI Generation 3 NVIDIA GPU Direct
36 Dual socket Intel Haswell, 16 cores None N/A Mellanox Fourteen Data Rate InfiniBand Comparable processor to Trinity first delivery; PowerInsight V2 monitoring device
3 Dual socket Intel Xeon Haswell, 16 cores NVIDIA K80m GPUs 2496x2 562 MHz cores Mellanox Fourteen Data Rate InfiniBand SSD; on restricted network; reduced access
104 AMD A10-5800K (Piledriver) 3.8GHz
Radeon HD-7660D (Northern Islands) with on-die integration 384 800MHz cores QLogic Quad Data Rate InfiniBand Integrated CPU/GPU+ 256GB SSD and a
custom-designed power monitoring capability
56 Dual Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge 2.4 GHz, total 24 cores None N/A Aries Cray XC30m, Full featured RAS system including power monitoring and control capabilities
9 Dual IBM Power
8, 10 cores
NVIDIA K40 2 per node N/A Fourteen Data Rate InfiniBand Technology on the path to anticipated CORAL systems

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