Astra – An Arm-Based Large-Scale Advanced Architecture Prototype Platform

Astra, one of the first supercomputers to use processors based on the Arm architecture in a large-scale high-performance computing platform, is being deployed at Sandia National Laboratories.  Astra is the first of a potential series of advanced architecture prototype platforms, which will be deployed as part of the Vanguard program that will evaluate the feasibility of emerging high-performance computing architectures as production platforms.  The machine is based on the recently announced Cavium Inc. ThunderX2 64-bit Arm-v8 microprocessor. The platform consists of 2,592 compute nodes, of which each is 28-core, dual-socket, and will be at a theoretical peak of more than 2.3 petaflops, equivalent to 2.3 quadrillion floating-point operations (FLOPS), or calculations, per second.  While being the fastest is not one of the goals of Astra or the Vanguard program in general, a single Astra node is roughly one hundred times faster than a modern Arm-based cellphone. More details are available here.

Astra Supercomputer
James H. Laros,

June 1, 2018