Wednesday, December 4th 2013

NCKU Develops World's First Switchless Cluster Supercomputer

The National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Supercomputing Research Center (RSC) has built the world's first switchless cluster computer. Known as the "CK-Star", this computer connects eight computers without switch control, thus breaking Intel's performance record. Together with the computer systems provided by Acer, the CK-Star is jointly built by NCKU RSC Director Dr. Chi-Chuan Hwang and Dr. Yuefan Deng of Mainland China's National Supercomputing Center in Jinan (NSCCJN), who is also a Distinguished Professor at the State University of New York (SUNY).

NCKU RSC Director Dr. Chi-Chuan Hwang added that CK-Star is the most unique switchless cluster supercomputer compared to traditional cluster supercomputer which requires switch control to control interaction between nodes. He explained that the weakness of the traditional one is that switches will become performance bottlenecks when the number of nodes is large. Besides, switches also consume large amount of power, estimated to be 50% of the total power consumption. With the introduction of the CK-Star which allows the unrestricted expansion of supercomputers, these problems can be overcome.

CK-Star also integrates the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor and has produced record-breaking computer performance at 80.2% for four nodes and 77.3% for eight nodes, beating Intel's previous world record of 79.6% for four nodes and 76.1% for eight nodes.

"CK-Star has an innovative structure and an enhanced performance. It has overcome the limitations of switches and solved the problem of high power dissipation through switches," Dr. Yuefan Deng explained.

In addition to CK-Star, the GS-R22PHL supercomputer, jointly built by NCKU RSC and Gigabyte, has also been recorded to reach 3.7 teraflops (3.7 trillion floating-point operations) in terms of computer performance.

GS-R22PHL is currently the highest performing single supercomputer to date, thus setting a world record in the field of supercomputers and a new milestone in the history of computing.

The innovative skills were presented at Yue-sheng Lecture Hall of NCKU Department of Engineering Science on November 18th and attended by NCKU Vice President Chih-Chin Ho, NCKU Computer and Network Center Director Jung-Hsien Chiang, and many other researchers and scholars.
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2 Comments on NCKU Develops World's First Switchless Cluster Supercomputer

so how do they join the nodes without a switch?
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Geofrancis said:
so how do they join the nodes without a switch?
I would guess switch-less fabric layer. Almost like rink token since they are only working with 4 or 8 nodes. Bus ring with DMA access.
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