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Sun Supercomputer Created For ’Flight and Flow’ Simulation In Germany


Center for Computer Applications in Aerospace Science and Engineering Chooses Sun’s Petascale Computing Architecture
SANTA CLARA, CA .- Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) has won the first contract in Germany for the installation of a high performance computing (HPC) cluster for commercial applications based on Sun’s Petascale architecture. The Petascale architecture was developed in-house at Sun under the name “Sun Constellation System,” and was presented to the public for the first time at the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden, Germany last year. The Center for Computer Applications in Aerospace Science and Engineering (C˛A˛S˛E), supported by Airbus, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the state of Lower Saxony, is investing EUR 5.2 million in the new supercomputer that has a compute capacity of 46.6 TFlops.

With the support of its partner T-Systems, DLR searched for a platform that could perform complex numerical flow simulations necessary for the C˛A˛S˛E project. Christian Schweitzer, Head of T-Systems Service Center Nord, explained the process: “We created a list of specifications and issued them to three well-known suppliers. The key requirements included the highest possible number of processors and an efficient technological update after three years. Sun impressed DLR in both areas.”

The European Union (EU) has stipulated that for all commercial aircrafts exhaust emissions must be reduced by 50 percent and noise by 10-20 decibels by the year 2020. This means that researching new aircraft concepts is becoming increasingly important. By improving software modeling, the accuracy of the simulations should continue to improve. The aim of C˛A˛S˛E is to establish a globally-recognized, interdisciplinary center of excellence in numerical aircraft simulations.

High-performance computing with over 6000 processor cores.

Sun’s Petascale architecture is the world’s first architecture cluster system that can reach a computing capacity of more than 2 PFlops. The Petascale architecture blade servers use SPARC, AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon processors as computer nodes, which are operated using the Sun Blade 6048 modular system chassis. Solaris , Linux and Windows are supported as the operating system platforms for Sun Constellation System.

An Infiniband network enables the communication between the blades. The Sun Datacenter Switch 3456-the globally exclusive Infiniband switch with its 3456 ports - forms the central component. The high-density packaging in the switch enables data throughput with minimal latency; this is essential for HPC cluster systems. This maximum data throughput enables simultaneous calculation of highly complex simulations and generates the additional data the science requires. This high-performance computer system is therefore able to calculate several highly complex simulations at once.

“It was important to us to significantly increase the number of processor cores in use,” explained Dr. Norbert Kroll, Head of C˛A˛S˛E. “To date, we have been using 100 to 500 cores at a time on average, but we intend to gradually increase this figure to 6000 cores.”

As a result of deploying 768 Sun Blade X6220 server modules, 6144 cores have been made available. Each module uses two AMD Opteron 2347HE Quadcore processors and is supported in the storage area by Sun Fire X4500 servers and at the front-end by Sun Fire X4200 M2 servers. To help ensure the server technology remains virtually state-of-the-art, the blades will be replaced in 2010 as part of Sun Refresh Service using the most cutting-edge technology available at the time.

C˛A˛S˛E is a center of excellence that comprehensively specializes in numerical aircraft simulation. This simulation center is an innovation partnership between Airbus, the state of Lower Saxony and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The core of the simulation center is Europe’s fastest, high-performance computer for aeronautical research. Responsibility for the design, construction, and operation of the computer lies in the hands of T-Systems.


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