Cray launches XC30 supercomputer behemoth, scales to 100 petaflops, a million Xeon cores

Cray has just fired a nuclear salvo in the supercomputer wars with the launch of its XC30, a 100 petaflop-capable brute that can scale up to one million cores. Developed in conjunction with DARPA, the Cascade-codenamed system uses a new type of architecture called Aries interconnect and Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors to easily leapfrog its recent Titan sibling, the previous speed champ. That puts Cray well ahead of rivals like China's Tianhe-2, and the company will aim to keep that edge by supercharging future versions with Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors and NVIDIA Tesla GPUs. High-end research centers have placed $100 million worth of orders so far (though oddly, DARPA isn't one of them yet), and units are already shipping in limited numbers -- likely by the eighteen-wheeler-full, from the looks of it.

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Cray Unveils the Cray XC30 Supercomputer -- the Next Generation of Its High-End Supercomputing Systems

Nov 08, 2012 -- Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) today announced the launch of the Company's next generation high-end supercomputing systems -- the Cray XC30 supercomputer. Previously code-named "Cascade," the Cray XC30 supercomputer is the Company's most-advanced high performance computing system ever built.

The Cray XC30 combines the new Aries interconnect, Intel® Xeon® processors, Cray's powerful and fully-integrated software environment, and innovative power and cooling technologies to create a production supercomputer that is designed to scale high performance computing (HPC) workloads of more than 100 petaflops.

"After several years of incredibly hard work focused on completing the most ambitious R&D program in our company's history, today's unveiling of the Cray XC30 supercomputer is an exciting moment for Cray employees and our customers who have been eagerly anticipating what is an amazing new system," said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. "As a follow on to our most successful, productive line of supercomputers, the Cray XC30 is the realization of our Adaptive Supercomputing vision and will provide researchers, scientists and engineers with a system that can adapt to fit their most demanding applications. We're off to a great start with more than $100 million in contracts for this system, and we believe the Cray XC30 series of supercomputers will allow a broader base of users to leverage the world's most advanced supercomputing technology."

Several leading HPC centers have signed contracts to purchase Cray XC30 supercomputers, including:

The Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano, Switzerland
The Pawsey Centre in Perth, Australia, owned by CSIRO and operated by iVEC
The Finnish IT Center for Science Ltd. (CSC)
The Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in Berkeley, Calif.
The Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies (ACCMS) at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan
The University of Stuttgart's High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) in Germany

The first customer to sign a Cray XC30 contract was HLRS in Stuttgart back in 2010. "The Cray XC30 system will be a valuable supercomputing resource for our researchers and scientists, as well as for our industrial partners in the automotive and aerospace industries," said Prof. Dr. Michael Resch, director of HLRS. "We have worked closely with Cray over the years to ensure our users are equipped with innovative supercomputing systems that are built with leading-edge supercomputing technology, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Cray XC30."

The first in a family of products that will span from technical enterprise computing to the largest systems in the world, the Cray XC30 supercomputer has been engineered to meet the real-world performance challenges of HPC users. Cray's new high-end system features the new HPC-optimized Aries system interconnect; a new Dragonfly topology that frees applications from locality constraints; an innovative cooling system that utilizes a transverse airflow to lower customers' total cost of ownership; the next-generation of the scalable, high performance Cray Linux Environment that also supports a wide range of ISV applications; Cray's HPC optimized programming environment; and the ability to handle a wide variety of processor types including the Intel® Xeon® processors -- a first for Cray's high-end systems.

"Today's launch of the new Cray XC30 supercomputer is an exciting moment for Cray, Intel and more importantly, the vast HPC user community, which will be able to take advantage of the computational resources of Cray supercomputers powered by Intel® Xeon® E5 processors and Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors and supported by Intel's investments in fabric," said Raj Hazra, Intel VP and general manager of Technical Computing Group. "The Cray XC30 system is specifically designed to deliver sustained performance and scalability, providing researchers and scientists with a powerful, reliable and productive tool for achieving breakthrough innovations and discoveries."

The Cray XC30 will utilize the Intel® Xeon® processors E5-2600 product family and with these Intel processors, Cray XC30 systems can scale in excess of one million cores. Additionally, future versions of the Cray XC family of supercomputers will be available with the new Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors and NVIDIA® Tesla® GPUs based on the next-generation NVIDIA Kepler™ GPU computing architecture. With these accelerator and coprocessor options, Cray customers will be able to customize a Cray XC supercomputer with the innovative processor technologies that best meets the HPC needs of their scientific applications.

Early shipments of the Cray XC30 are starting now, and systems are expected to be widely available in first quarter of 2013.

"Cray is a leader in the high-end of the supercomputing industry, and the Cray XC30 system promises to continue the Company's strong standing in the market for designing, building and installing leadership-class supercomputers, such as the 'Titan' system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the 'Blue Waters' supercomputer at the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications," said Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for HPC. "The Cray XC30 supercomputer also advances Cray's Adaptive Supercomputing vision, which aims to boost application performance for their customers by exploiting hybrid processing."

The Cray XC30 supercomputer is made possible in part by Cray's participation in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) High Productivity Computing Systems program.

Additional information on the Cray XC30 supercomputer, including product collateral, technical details and a Cray XC30 networking whitepaper can be found on Cray XC30 system page on the Cray website.

About Cray Inc.
As a global leader in supercomputing, Cray provides highly advanced supercomputers and world-class services and support to government, industry and academia. Cray technology is designed to enable scientists and engineers to achieve remarkable breakthroughs by accelerating performance, improving efficiency and extending the capabilities of their most demanding applications. Cray's Adaptive Supercomputing vision is focused on delivering innovative next-generation products that integrate diverse processing technologies into a unified architecture, allowing customers to surpass today's limitations and meeting the market's continued demand for realized performance. Go to www.cray.com for more information.