The resources of the Joint Supercomputer Center of RAS (the systems MVS6000IM and MVS100k) are extensively used in scientific computations in INM RAS. Yet, a number of problems (for example, climate modeling) require almost continual computations which cannot be conducted be easily conducted in the remote mode. Accordingly, to meet the high demand for cluster computing, the INM RAS had installed a 32-processor cluster based on Intel Itanium2 processors with a peak capacity of 0.18 teraflops. Since its launching in 2004, the cluster made it possible to obtain a number of significant scientific results (primarily, in the field of climate modeling).
In 2008, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has imposed new and improved requirements to climate models involved in international programs on climate change study. These requirements apply to both the model resolution and level of complexity. For example, the horizontal resolution of an atmospheric model, which is key component of the climate model, must be no less than 2.5 degrees by longitude and 2 degrees by latitude. The existing INM RAS cluster of peak capacity of 0.18 teraflops gives no way of conducting such computations at a reasonable time period.
In 2007, the INM RAS announced an open contest for delivery of a computer cluster with a peak capacity of 1.33 teraflops. Its architecture was chosen in view of current trends in the development of cluster computing systems and the limitations on the power consumption and dimensions of the equipment needed by the customer. At the time of the contest, such systems could be purchased from a number of companies. The final choice was the SGI Altix 1300 integrated cluster (based on Intel Xeon5355 quad-core processors) offered by the I-Teco closed stock company. All nodes of the cluster are connected via a high-performance Infiniband network. The cluster is operating under OS Linux; the complete shipment includes also the ScaliManage cluster management software and SGI ProPack math libraries. A special feature of Altix 1300 is that its Altix XE310 compute nodes contain two dual-processor units of 1U usable space, thus providing a high-density packing. In addition, this equipment is shipped with preinstalled and tuned software, which makes the installation significantly easier.
This cluster has a peak capacity of 1.33 teraflops under actual power consumption of only 5.5 kWt. The usable space of the cluster without storage system is only 12U in the standard rack. Under limited areas available and growing electricity rates, these features become important. It makes sense to note that the old cluster (with a performance of 0.18 teraflops) took 36U in the rack and consumed 7 kWt.
In late February 2008, the new cluster of INM RAS had reached a capacity of 1.053 teraflops on LINPACK benchmarking (solving systems of linear equations).
"Our mathematical model of the general circulation of the atmosphere and deep ocean is unique to Russia and, in some characteristics, can outperform foreign models", - said Academician Valentin Dymnikov, the director the Institute of Numerical Mathematics. "The installation of the new cluster makes it possible to practically run the climate model (consisting of models of the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, biosphere, carbon and methane cycles) satisfying the new requirements by IPCC".