As one of the premier high-performance computing (HPC) research institutions in the U.S., the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) provides HPC resources for a wide range of scientific applications, including many whose performance needs require highly parallel shared-memory architectures. NCSA recently replaced its previous shared-memory system, an SGI Altix* supercomputer based on the IntelÂ® ItaniumÂ® 2 processor, with an SGI Altix UV supercomputer powered by the IntelÂ® XeonÂ® processor 7500 series. NCSA says the new system, which it calls Ember, consumes half the power while delivering double the performance and nearly triple the memory capacity.
â€śOur expectation was that weâ€™d see a baseline of maybe a 20 to 50 or 70 percent increase in application performance over the previous system,â€ť explained John Towns, director of persistent infrastructure for NCSA. â€śWhat we found is that many applications are seeing a factor of two increase in performance, and sometimes much more.â€ť