Cray ARM Supercomputer with Cavium ThunderX2 in GW4 Isambard with Simon McIntosh-Smith

Posted by – November 19, 2017

Cray announces the world’s first production-ready ARM Powered supercomputer based on the Cavium ThunderX2 64bit ARMv8-A processor, added to the Cray XC50 supercomputer enabling the world’s most flexible supercomputers, available in both liquid-cooled cabinets and air-cooled cabinets, to be available in the second quarter of 2018. Featuring a full software environment, including the Cray Linux Environment, the Cray Programming Environment, and ARM-optimized compilers, with ARM’s upcoming SVE technology as the most efficient path to achieving the vision of exascale, ARM libraries, and tools for running today’s supercomputing workloads, with the Cray Aries interconnect. Cray’s enhanced compilers and programming environment achieves more performance out of the Cavium ThunderX2 processors, up to 20 percent faster performance compared with other public domain ARMv8 compilers such as LLVM and GNU.

Cray is currently working with multiple supercomputing centers on the development of the ARM-based supercomputing systems, including various labs in the United States Department of Energy and the GW4 alliance, a coalition of four leading, research-intensive universities in the UK. Through an alliance with Cray and the Met Office in the UK, GW4 is designing and building “Isambard,” an Arm-based Cray XC50 supercomputer. The GW4 Isambard project aims to deliver the world’s first Arm-based, production-quality HPC service. My video includes an interview with Professor Simon McIntosh-Smith from the University of Bristol who says that Ease of use, robustness, and performance, are all critical for a production service, and their early experiences with Cray’s ThunderX2 systems and end-to-end ARM software environment are very promising. All of the real scientific codes they’ve tried so far have worked out of the box, and they’re also seeing performance competitive with the best in class. Having access to Cray’s optimized HPC software stack of compilers and libraries in addition to all of the open-source tools has been a real advantage.

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