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Japanese Supercomputer Gets Faster But Draws No More Power

Computerworld (12/06/10) Martyn Williams

The Tokyo Institute of Technology recently developed Tsubame 2.0, a high-performance computer that is the second most energy-efficient supercomputer in the world, while achieving a peak performance of 2.4 petaflops. Tsubame 2.0 runs on a combination of central-processing units (CPUs) and graphic processing units (GPUs), which specialize at quickly performing computations on large amounts of data while using much less power than CPUs. The university’s CIO put a limit on how much electricity and physical space the researchers could use to build their new supercomputer. “It wasn’t the money, it wasn’t the space, it wasn’t our knowledge or capability, it was the power that basically was the limiter,” says Satoshi Matsuoka, director of the university’s Global Scientific Information and Computing Center. Tsubame 2.0 features 1,408 computing nodes and 448 processing cores, which results in nearly 1.9 million GPU cores and gives Tsubame 2.0 much of its power. The machine ranked fourth in the recent Top500 supercomputing list and second in the Green 500 energy-efficiency list.

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