NEC receives orders for vector supercomputing systems

SX-ACE (for a maximum of eight racks)

NEC has announced receipt of orders for the SX-ACE, a new vector supercomputer, from the Cyberscience Center of Tohoku University, a national university corporation, the Cybermedia Center (CMC) of Osaka University, also a national university corporation, and the National Institute for Environmental Studies, an independent administrative agency. This is the latest model of the NEC series of vector supercomputers that was released in November 2013.

The new product is the most suitable for scientific supercomputing that requires super-high-speed parallel processing and large-scale data analysis. NEC will contribute to the advancement of ICT infrastructure that supports social development and innovation by providing it to research institutes and enterprises.

The SX-ACE is a new vector supercomputer equipped with a multi-core vector CPU, which enables the world's top-level single-core performance of 64 GFLOPS and the largest memory bandwidth per core of 64 GB/s. Its performance per rack has improved 10 times over previous models, with a rack computing performance of 16 teraFLOPS (hereinafter "TFLOPS") and a memory bandwidth of 16 Tbytes/second. It is especially suited for scientific and engineering computing applications and data-intensive applications that need high-speed processing of big data. It achieves high-sustained performance in various simulations – for weather forecasting, analysis of global environmental changes, fluid-dynamics analysis, nanotechnology, development of new materials and others.

Using NEC's leading edge LSI technology, a high-density packaging design, and high-efficiency cooling technology, the SX-ACE also reduces power consumption by 90% and requires 20% of the floor space of existing models.

Cyberscience Center, Tohoku University
Supercomputer system scheduled to be launched in October 2014
At facilities for joint usage nation-wide in Japan, the Cyberscience Center of Tohoku University promotes deployment and operation of the latest academic information infrastructure, including high-performance computations and networks, and education and research concerning creation of new cyber-science utilizing this latest academic information infrastructure. The SX-ACE for which NEC received orders is a system of 40 racks (2,560 nodes), with maximum theoretical computation performance significantly increased to 706 TFLOPS – more than 25 times that of existing systems.

Professor Hiroaki Kobayashi, director of the Cyberscience Center at Tohoku University, said the Center "has utilized vector supercomputers since the first deployment of the SX-1 in 1986, and the successive systems boast a high usage rate. I consider that, in addition to the SX series' highly effective performance and ease of programming, end users appreciate the Center's activities, such as support for performance enhancement of programs. We want to promote user support to bring out the best of potential performance of the new SX-ACE supercomputer system, and joint research concerning acceleration and advancement of simulations through close cooperation among users, vendor engineers, and the Center's researchers. We also want to promote the latest academic research in various fields, including emerging research and even practical research, and to contribute to the advancement of Japan's HPCI system. We will work on these tasks by utilizing the results for exascale computing based on the ‘Feasibility Study of a Future HPCI System for Memory Intensive Applications,' which was implemented with support from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)."

Cybermedia Center (CMC), Osaka University
Supercomputer system scheduled to be launched in December 2014
The Cybermedia Center (CMC) of Osaka University accumulates diverse knowledge and results on the latest large-scale computations, information technology, multimedia contents and education at Osaka University, and closely works with education and research organizations inside and outside the university, and the industrial world, to facilitate advanced technology transfer. It also aims to serve as a center that responds to internationalization and the advanced information society, and is open to local communities. The new SX-ACE with 24 racks (1,536 nodes, maximum theoretical performance of 423TFLOPS) will be operated in conjunction with scalar-type supercomputers for use in a wide range of fields.

Professor Shojiro Nishio, director of the Cybermedia Center (CMC) at Osaka University, said the Center "has developed excellent operation technologies, carefully taking into account usability, jointly with NEC since its deployment of the SX-1 back in 1986. As a noteworthy outcome of this development, the ‘fair-share scheduling system' being operated at this center enjoys a high usage. Currently, supercomputing is faced with various issues that need to be addressed, such as ever-growing demand for power and handling of big data. In order to overcome these issues, the Center will build a new facility this fiscal year called the IT Core Building that focuses on efficient air-conditioning for supercomputer operations by aiming to be the world's most environment-friendly supercomputing center, and will continue to strive for solutions for challenging and competing goals for ever-increasing demand toward scientific computing capabilities and power constraints.
In the last fiscal year, the Center introduced a reconfigurable PC cluster and a large-scale visualization system, both of which will be used in combination with the SX-ACE vector supercomputer to be installed in this fiscal year. By utilizing such an infrastructure, the Center will actively work on promotion of the research in e-science as the fourth scientific method and the fostering of human resources that can serve as the basis for the next-generation of scientific computing, as well as the advancement and deepening of IT technologies that support future scientific and engineering computing such as real-time visualization of massive computational results."

National Institute for Environmental Studies
Supercomputer system scheduled to be launched in June 2015
The National Institute for Environmental Studies has been working on research of diverse environmental issues by utilizing its expertise and the latest facilities. Issues addressed by the institute range from the local level to the global level, from air pollution and water quality to the environmental impact by chemicals to global warming. The new supercomputer is a successor of the 8-node SX-9 system that was introduced as a first stage of deployment last year. It will be upgraded to the SX-ACE 384 node in the future and used for environmental research in various fields, including global environmental studies. Operation of the SX-ACE will commence in June 2015.

By using its vector technology, NEC will examine development of the next generation of high-performance servers targeting industrial application fields and big data analysis, in addition to conventional supercomputer fields and leading the latest development in the future.

Based on its Mid-term Management Plan 2015, the NEC Group is working towards the safety, security, efficiency and equality of society. NEC aims to develop solutions for a wide range of issues as a company that creates value through the promotion of its "Solutions for Society" which provide advanced social infrastructure utilizing ICT.

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