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Architectural requirements for the Red Storm computing system

Tomkins, James; Tomkins, James; Camp, William

This report is based on the Statement of Work (SOW) describing the various requirements for delivering 3 new supercomputer system to Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) as part of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) program. This system is named Red Storm and will be a distributed memory, massively parallel processor (MPP) machine built primarily out of commodity parts. The requirements presented here distill extensive architectural and design experience accumulated over a decade and a half of research, development and production operation of similar machines at Sandia. Red Storm will have an unusually high bandwidth, low latency interconnect, specially designed hardware and software reliability features, a light weight kernel compute node operating system and the ability to rapidly switch major sections of the machine between classified and unclassified computing environments. Particular attention has been paid to architectural balance in the design of Red Storm, and it is therefore expected to achieve an atypically high fraction of its peak speed of 41 TeraOPS on real scientific computing applications. In addition, Red Storm is designed to be upgradeable to many times this initial peak capability while still retaining appropriate balance in key design dimensions. Installation of the Red Storm computer system at Sandia's New Mexico site is planned for 2004, and it is expected that the system will be operated for a minimum of five years following installation.