Kyoto University in Japan has ordered an AMD Opteron-based supercomputer that's not only powerful but achieves considerable energy savings over its current machine.
The cluster will consist of 416 of Fujitsu's HX600 high-performance computers. Each of those machines is based on four quad-core Opteron processors so a total of 1,664 processors and 6,656 Opteron cores will be busy inside the machine, running applications such as scientific calculations, genomic information processing, computer graphics, and large archive searches.
Alongside the main cluster will sit a symmetric multiprocessing cluster consisting of seven Sparc enterprise Unix servers, each based on Sparc64 processors, and with 1TB of memory.
The theoretical peak performance of the computer will be 61.2T Flops (floating point operations per second), which would put it somewhere within the top 20 most powerful computers in the world if it was built today.
It will be seven times as powerful as the supercomputer it will replace at Kyoto University, and advances in electronics in the last few years mean it will consume the same amount of power or -- put another way -- it will require only 15 percent of the watts per teraflop.
Energy consumption is becoming an increasingly important issue as supercomputers become more powerful. Underlining this importance a new ranking of supercomputers was published in 2007 that looks at their energy efficiency.
The Green 500 list was developed by two professors at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and the inaugural list put the IBM BlueGene/P system at the Daresbury Laboratory of the Science and Technology Facilities Council in the U.K. at the number one spot. The computer produces 357M Flops per watt.
Fujitsu didn't release precise energy consumption figures for the computer to be installed at Kyoto University but said the entire machine would consume about 600 kilowatts of power. Based on the theoretical peak performance that works out to an energy efficiency of about 102M Flops per watt for the new computer.