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One of the world’s best supercomputers lands in Saudi Arabia

Discussion in 'Technology & Science' started by Rakan.SA, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Rakan.SA

    Rakan.SA FULL MEMBER

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    One of the world’s best supercomputers lands in Saudi Arabia

    [​IMG]"IBM Blue Gene P supercomputer" by Argonne National Laboratory's Flickr page
    By Laurene Veale

    In May of this year, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will welcome Shaheen-2, a brand new supercomputer purchased from American supercomputer manufacturer Cray for $80 million last November.

    Founded in 2009, KAUST has been steadily climbing world rankings for research and innovation thanks to its high-tech facilities and substantial research budgets. Shaheen-2, a custom-built Cray XC40 system weighing nearly 100 metric tons, is one of several supercomputer systems utilized by the university’s research teams, whose work spans from photovoltaic engineering to computational bioscience, water desalination and desert agriculture. The purchasing of this new system will bring the total amount spent by the university on supercomputers to approximately $150 million.

    Shaheen-2 is the younger sister of Shaheen, a supercomputer system brought from IBM’s research centre in New York to KAUST in 2009. It is a Blue Gene supercomputer that came out of IBM’s ambition to design supercomputers with low power consumption and operating speeds in the petaFLOPS, meaning the computer can perform a thousand trillion floating point operations – a measure of computer performance – per second. It also carries over 65 thousand independent processing cores, the units that read and execute program instructions; that’s equivalent to the processing cores of 32 thousand iPhones 6 (which have a dual core processor) or 16 thousand Samsung Galaxy S4 (with a quad core processor).


    Various uses for the supercomputer
    Till now, Shaheen has been used in a wide range of fields, spanning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s forecasting of the global climate, to the investigation of plasmoids caused by the solar wind, to petroleum reservoir modeling, and to the bioinformatics of salt and drought tolerant plants. With a peak performance of 185 Terapflops (and an estimated peak performance known as theoretical peak of 222 Teraflops), Shaheen ranked 14th best supercomputer in the world. Because of ever-constant progress in the field, the average processing power of the world’s best supercomputers increases fast, with new systems constantly pushing older ones down the list. Shaheen therefore lost its position in world rankings after five years, falling to 335th position in the list of top 500 supercomputers. In order to maintain its high position as an owner of a world-class supercomputer, KAUST purchased Shaheen-2, which is expected to perform 25 times better than its older sister Shaheen.



    Professor David Keyes, the director of KAUST’s Extreme Computing Research Center explains: “If installed today, Shaheen-2 would rank ninth globally”. Shaheen-2’s theoretical peak performance reaches 7.2 petaflops and will store over 790 terabytes of memory, that’s equivalent to the storage of 12,354 iPhones with a 64GB memory. Performance will be enhanced progressively in autumn of this year with the addition of a DataWarp burst buffer which creates a pool of input/output resources and brings the applications as close to the computer as possible. The supercomputer can also be upgraded several times through the addition of new multicore processors for instance. Although this is possible with Shaheen too, new additions are rarely compatible with ‘old’ systems, as adding a multicore processor on Shaheen would be like adding a brand new electric engine on a very old car.


    Shaheen-2 will be used for research in a number of fields, including fuel-efficient engine design, oceanography, seismic modeling, climate prediction, oil-reservoir modeling as well as the generation and storage of solar energy. It will also enhance the university’s capacity for fundamental research in algorithms, programming models and software design for next generation supercomputers.



    Universities collaborating with Shaheen
    KAUST expects to attract important collaborators from the Middle East and internationally thanks to the arrival of Shaheen-2. “Our entry into the world of Cray XC40 owners should create additional partnerships that are not in the first round of IBM Blue Gene partners, including NERSC at Berkeley, CSCS at Lugano, HLRS at Stuttgart, LRZ at Munich, and Archer at Edinburgh”, explains Professor Keyes. Researchers from all countries are eligible to have an account on Shaheen-2’s system if they demonstrate technical need and scientific merit.



    The Shaheen system also enables innovation within traditional industries: research departments of large oil and manufacturing companies such as Saudi Aramco and SABIC have accounts on Shaheen and are expected to buy into Shaheen-2’s system as well. “Typical partner uses are in the oil industry and in chemistry and chemical catalysis research”, explains Professor Keyes.



    A number of Saudi institutions already use KAUST’s Shaheen, such as King Saud University, King Abdulaziz University, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Mineralsand King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. Having an account on Shaheen allows researchers to further develop their work and enter new fields of research, in turn contributing to improving their institution’s scientific output. It is due to this type of equipment that Saudi universities are climbing world scientific rankings: King Abdulaziz University, for instance, has gone from being among the top 400 universities worldwide in 2012 in the Shanghai University Ranking, to being among the top 200 in 2014. In Engineering, three Saudi universities rank in the top 150 universities worldwide, according to the Shanghai Ranking, King Saud University being the one that has improved its rank the most since 2009.



    The arrival of Shaheen-2 will be a major step forward for the Saudi R&D industry. Like its older sister Shaheen, it will contribute to the enhancement of Saudi’s major industries as well as its economic transition towards a knowledge based economy. With such investments such as Shaheen and Shaheen-2, Saudi Arabia is bound to strengthen its position as the regional hub for research and innovation.

    One of the world’s best supercomputers lands in Saudi Arabia
     
  2. Rakan.SA

    Rakan.SA FULL MEMBER

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  3. black-hawk_101

    black-hawk_101 BANNED

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    Is there any super computer in Pakistan?
     
  4. Rakan.SA

    Rakan.SA FULL MEMBER

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    i dont know.. actually i don't know anything about computers haha
    not my area of expertise
     
  5. ArsalanKhan21

    ArsalanKhan21 SENIOR MEMBER

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  6. Sine Nomine

    Sine Nomine ELITE MEMBER

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    Pakistan has deployed fastest super computers in Asia but only in field of Defense..
     
  7. pursuit of happiness

    pursuit of happiness SENIOR MEMBER

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    must be there..
    either own or imported..
    if you bulid you own figter.. missile .. nuclear bombs.. it need tons of analytics which Sucomp is must

    any linke

    fastest in asia?
     
  8. Sine Nomine

    Sine Nomine ELITE MEMBER

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    Pakistani Defense Industry is in black blanket in some areas..
     
  9. pursuit of happiness

    pursuit of happiness SENIOR MEMBER

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    i subcribe.. you point..