The launch of its new CS-2 ‘TeraFLOPS class’ vector massively parallel supercomputer (CI No 2,062) is an important step not only for Meiko Ltd, but for Performance Computing Industries the marketing and development collaboration between Meiko, Parsys Ltd in the UK and Telmat Informatique SA in France. The three announced their intention to join forces […]
The launch of its new CS-2 ‘TeraFLOPS class’ vector massively parallel supercomputer (CI No 2,062) is an important step not only for Meiko Ltd, but for Performance Computing Industries the marketing and development collaboration between Meiko, Parsys Ltd in the UK and Telmat Informatique SA in France. The three announced their intention to join forces to exploit the European supercomputing market the TEC’92 conference in Grenoble last October. Together, they form the largest massively parallel processing vendor organisation in Europe with estimated annual revenues of $60m. Although each member will continue to op-erate in its own right, the consortium will provide a single focus for lobbying European academics and governments, for promoting and marketing the image of European supercomputing. The three are convinced that Europe is under-equipped with supercomputers compared with the US and Japan, and is also under increasing pressure from US and Japanese vendors. In order to retain and expand their European market share they reckon European ven-dors should band together concentrate on fighting this competition rather than fighting among themselves. Their focus will be the production and promotion of massively parallel computers based on commodity microprocessors, inputoutput subsystems, op-erating systems, compilers and libraries. Greater co-operation, the companies believe, will provide more focussed research and development and a network of important contacts with high-perf-ormance computer users. It is hoped that, eventually, the org-anisation will include other companies, covering all major European countries. The new CS-2 is the second product to be offered by Performance Computing Industries, along with the Concerto machine, introduced earlier this year (CI No 1,859), courtesy of the European Community General Purpose MIMD project. Current CS-2 systems scale from four to 1,024 processing nodes, providing over 200 GFLOPS – but the underlying architecture, according to Meiko, is sufficient to provide TeraFLOPS supercomputing. The CS-2 uses Fujitsu’s micro VP chip; SuperSparc chips from Texas Instruments and the Solaris operating system from Sun Microsystems Inc. The use of such state of the art commodity open system building blocks so enabled Meiko to concentrate on developing the CS-2’s distributed, or ‘virtual global’ memory. This has been designed to provide high bandwidth and low message passing latency between all the processors in the system. Meiko says it helps to provide a uniform and predictable performance, independent of a processor’s position and the system’s workload and, in turn, improves the CS-2’s programmability. The memory’s communication system was developed under the auspices of the European Community’s Genesis and General Purpose MIMD projects.
Distributed memory Solaris
Meiko designed two VLSI components: the Elan Communications Pro-cessor, for use with Unix workstation microprocessors; and the Elite Network Switch for linking them together. Together these provide 10 microsecond latency with a bi-directional bandwidth of 102.4Gbps. The CS-2’s Solaris operating system is Unix V.4-compliant and, Meiko says, is instantly compatible with many existing applications and development tools. Meiko developed a distributed memory implementation of Solaris for its machine, in which massively parallel servers co-exist in client-server relationships. These massively parallel techniques extend to the operating system file and input-output resources so, Meiko says, eliminating the need for the separate front-end processor which causes bottlenecks in other systems. The input-ouput system delivers 20Gbps of standard S-Bus aggregate bandwidth. Additional parallel tools such as PVM, Parmacs and Meiko’s own CS software can be used to provide further system enhancement where required. The CS-2 is available through Meiko, Parsys and Telmat. Prices start at $500,000. Another Performance Computing Industries project is now underway to develop an Inmos Ltd T9000/C104 Transputer-based system that conforms to the same
CS-2 architectural specifications and is also compatible with it.