IBM p690

Clock Speed: 
Dates Used: 
Thursday, October 31, 2002 to Friday, October 17, 2003
Microprocessor Peak Teraflops: 
Memory (terabytes): 
Number of Processors: 
1 600.00
Electrical Power Consumption: 
415.00 kW
Experimental and Production

On 2 October 2002, SCD took delivery of Phase 2 of NCAR's Advanced Research Computing System (ARCS). The delivery added a complete new IBM system, called bluesky, to the SCD computational environment.

SCD powered up the new IBM p690 system on 4 October 2002 at 1440 Mountain Daylight Time.

At that time, the bluesky system had a peak computational capacity exceeding 6.3 teraflops and 21 terabytes of disk. Combined with blackforest and other SCD supercomputers, bluesky brought the total peak computation capacity of NCAR's supercomputing facility to nearly 9 teraflops.

The acquisition of bluesky placed NCAR in the top ten of the world's fastest supercomputing centers, according to an annual ranking released on November 15, 2002.

The bluesky system introduced IBM's next-generation POWER4 processor. As with the POWER3-II processors in blackforest, the POWER4 has a capability of 4 floating-point operations per clock tick; but the POWER4 runs at a substantially faster clock speed of 1.3 gigahertz. Thus each POWER4 processor has a peak computation rate of 5.2 gigaflops.

The original bluesky system was comprised of 38 Regatta-H Turbo frames, each with 32 POWER4 processors. The system had a total of 1216 POWER4 processors and peak computation rate of 6.323 teraflops.

Late in FY2003, bluesky was augmented by 12 32-way p690 SMP frames, adding an additional 384 POWER4 processors. This brought the number of POWER4 processors to 1600 and the system's total peak computational rate to 8.32 teraflops. The augmentation also increased bluesky's total disk capacity to 31 terabytes.

Bluesky now has 50 POWER4 p690 SMP frames, making it one of the largest systems of this type in the world.

The addition of the bluesky system in FY2003 increased both Community Computing and Climate Simulation Lab resources by a factor of two each. The 12 additional bluesky frames are being used to increase the resource capacity available to Community Climate System Model (CCSM) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) activity.