search form

search form
Terascale Computing System (CTS) 
Date of Last update : 2016.02.17 Rivision Request
Keywords
Computation, terascale system, supercomputing, visualization, architectural features
Description
he Terascale Computing System (TCS), the most powerful system in the world committed to unclassified research, is installed on schedule. Developed and implemented by the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center in collaboration with Compaq Computer Corporation, with funding from the National Science Foundation, the TCS provides computational capability to scientists and engineers nationwide. They will use it in many areas of research that have wide social impact, including earthquake modeling, storm-scale weather forecasting, global climate change, and protein genomics, modeling that's integral to the development of new drug therapies.

A joint project of Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and Westinghouse Electric Company, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) has deployed the TCS to fill a gap in U.S. basic research capability highlighted in a 1999 presidential report. Terascale means computational power beyond a "teraflop" ― a trillion calculations per second. With peak capability of six teraflops, the new system is now by far the most powerful available as an open resource for researchers attacking a wide range of problems.
Application Area
The brain of the six teraflop system will be a network of Compaq AlphaServers, 682 of them, each of which itself contains four Compaq Alpha microprocessors. Existing terascale systems rely on other processors, but extensive testing by PSC and others indicates that the Alpha processor offers superior performance over a range of applications.

Along with processing power, the terascale system will feature 2.7 terabytes of memory, high-bandwidth, low-latency Quadrics Supercomputer World interconnects among AlphaServers, and remarkable capabilities for large-scale data handling, including the ability to write memory to disk in three minutes, and to write a terabyte per hour to tape. The system will also employ a tightly coupled visualization system. With these architectural features, the PSC terascale system will promote innovative applications in many areas.

The terascale system will draw on a history of collaboration between PSC and Compaq, and PSC and the computer-science and computational-science community. It represents an extension of PSC's success at installing new systems - resolving the myriad of unanticipated hardware and software glitches that come up - and turning them over rapidly to the scientific community as productive research tools. In fall 2000, PSC will install an initial system with a peak performance of 0.4 teraflops. The six teraflop system, which will use faster Compaq Alpha microprocessors not yet available, will evolve from this
Specifications