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CHPC's Lengau ranked 121st on the world's 'Top500 list' of supercomputers

CHPC's newly-launched petascale machine, Lengau (seTswana for Cheetah), received international recognition this week by being placed 121st on the computing Top 500 List at the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Lengau was recently officially unveiled in Cape Town.

The Top 500 List lists computers ranked by their performance on the LINPACK benchmark (The LINPACK Benchmarks measure a system's floating point computing power. Introduced by Jack Dongarra, they measure how fast a computer solves a dense n by n system of linear equations, which is a common task in science and engineering).

With over 24 000 cores, the machine is the fastest computer on the African continent owing to its speed of roughly one petaflop (1000 teraflops) which is 15 times faster than the previous system named Tsessebe (seTswana for Antelope). South Africa last entered the Top500 List following an upgrade of Tsessebe in 2013 and featured at position 311. Tsessebe ran at 64.44 teraflops. 

Lengau puts the country in the company of leading supercomputing nations. It is the only system in Africa featuring on the TOP500 and it is the second fastest supercomputer in the southern hemisphere, a demonstration of South Africa’s commitment to ensuring world-class services to its research community and industry.

"This prestigious international accolade demonstrates that Africa's first petascale supercomputer is ready to accelerate applications that run on it, a boost for Africa's research and industrial competitiveness," said Dr Happy Sithole, Director: CHPC.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 June 2016 12:19

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CHPC unveils petascale machine

CHPC has unveiled the fastest computer on the continent, a petaflops (PFLOPs) machine.

This is a super computer with processing speed capable of a thousand-trillion floating point operations per second. Floating point operations or flops are used in computing to calculate extremely long numbers.

With over 24 000 cores, the machine is the fastest computer on the African continent owing to its speed of just over one petaflop (1000 teraflops) which is 15 times faster than the previous system named Tsessebe.

Tsessebe had a peak performance of 24.9 teraflops/second and became number 311 on the world’s top 500 supercomputers and was ranked number one in Africa.

Following the history of CHPC of naming its high performance computers after fastest animals in the country, this petascale machine was named Lengau which is a Setswana name for Cheetah.

Dr Thomas Auf der Heyde, Deputy Director-General: Research Development and Support at the Department of Science and Technology, outlined the role high-performance computing played in growing the economy.

“For our country to grow at the required rate, as set out in the National Development Plan, it needs to change gear by building capacity in the production and dissemination knowledge,” he explained.

“The CHPC represents a deliberate move by this country to invest in modernising our research and development. High-performance computing and advanced data technologies are powerful tools in enhancing the competiveness of regions and nations,” he added.

Dr Happy Sithole, the Director of CHPC, detailed the journey leading to the unveiling of the new machine.

“When we started in 2007, we took inspiration from the fastest animals in the land and named our first high performance computing system iQudu (Xhosa for Kudu) which boasted 2.5 teraflops (which is 2.5 trillion operations per second).

“In 2009 there was increased demand of computational resources, and a new high performance computing system dubbed the Tsessebe was launched. It boasted 24.9 teraflops and became number 311 on the TOP500 supercomputers, and ranked number one in the African continent. The system was later upgraded to 64.44 teraflops,” he said.

The current system is named Lengau owing to its speed of 1000 teraflops. Due to the technology, the system is also smaller in footprint than the previous system. The Dell HPC system is comprised of 1,039 Dell PowerEdge servers, based on Intel Xeon processors totalling 19 racks of compute nodes and storage. It has a total Dell Storage capacity of five petabytes, and uses Dell Networking ethernet switches and Mellanox EDR InfiniBand with a maximum interconnect speed of 56 GB/s.

“Dell is proud to collaborate with South Africa’s CSIR on the delivery of the fastest HPC system in Africa. The Lengau system will provide access and open doors to help drive new research, new innovations and new national economic benefits,” said Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager, Engineered Solutions, HPC and Cloud at Dell.

“While Lengau benefits from the latest technology advancements, from performance to density to energy efficiency, the most important benefit is that Lengau will enable new opportunities and avenues in research, the ability to help spur private sector growth in South Africa and, ultimately, help enable human potential.”

The key advantages of Lengau are:

  • Effective access for users to compute resources who had limited or no access to the resources in the past due to the capacity constraints,
  • Effective performance of large scale (i.e. many cores, many teraflops) simulations that were impossible in the past, opening completely new avenues of research, and
  • Effective capacity to build the private sector/non-academic user base of the CHPC for improved national economic benefit to be realised from HPC utilisation.

Last Updated on Monday, 13 June 2016 15:55

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German Parliamentary Portfolio Committee visits CHPC

This week, the CHPC welcomed the Committee on Digital Agenda of the Bundestag (German Federal Parliament) on an official visit to a number scientific and legislative organisations in South Africa.

The committee, through South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, visited the country on a five-day mission to find cooperation and business opportunities. The committee is made-up of seven members from the various parties in Germany: Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Social Union, Social Democratic Party and The Left Party.

Following a CHPC presentation on its mandate and activities, some which included existing CHPC activities and relations with Germany, discussions occurred on how Germany can work together with the CHPC towards reaching its mandate and clarity on the specific programmes Germany is looking at within South Africa.  

The visit to the CHPC followed by scheduled meetings with:

·         Members of the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town

·         Members of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

·         Representatives of the Western Cape Government

·         Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Cllr. Patricia de Lille

·         Ms Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology in Pretoria

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 March 2016 11:39

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CHPC system availability

CHPC is installing a new system and will not be available from January to March 2016.

Fitting has been completed, test users are running their jobs and full usage will be possible from mid-March when cooling doors will have been installed.
 
Below are the summary details of new cluster:
The new CHPC cluster will consist of a total of 19 racks containing 1008 standard compute nodes (24 cores/node; 24192 total core number; 128 GB memory/node), 5 FAT nodes (56 cores/node; 280 total core number; 1024 GB memory/node) with a total theoretical peak Linpack performance of 774.5 Tflop/s.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 March 2016 14:44

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CHPC in the News

Documentation for users:

Lengau Cluster Available

Graphical Processing Unit Cluster Unavailable

CHPC SAGrid Cluster Available

Dirisa Storage Unit Available

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