IBM Linux cluster

Clock Speed: 
Dates Used: 
Monday, July 12, 2004 to Thursday, December 3, 2009
Microprocessor Peak Teraflops: 
Memory (terabytes): 
Number of Processors: 
Electrical Power Consumption: 
48.00 kW
Experimental and Production

On July 12, 2004, SCD took delivery of "lightning," a large-scale, high-performance Linux cluster manufactured by IBM. The acquisition was part of SCD's new five-year Strategic Plan to evaluate new technologies and find ways for SCD to deliver more cost-effective tools for advancing the frontiers of science at NCAR.

The 1.1-teraflop system is considerably faster on a per-processor basis than bluesky, NCAR's IBM p690 system. In benchmark tests, the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) tests ran 30% faster, while the Parallel Ocean Program (POP) ran 40% faster. One reason for this is that lightning's Opteron processors, built by Advanced MicroDevices (AMD), have much better memory bandwidth than bluesky's Power4 processors.

Many of NCAR's university partners who want to use models such as the Community Climate System Model (CCSM) or the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model have Linux-based systems. Lightning offers them, for the first time, the chance to build, test, and evaluate these codes in a full-scale Linux computing environment similar to their own.