Venerable Early Jaguar System Retires
XT4 was a formidable tool for computational researchers
ORNL lost a computing powerhouse with the March retirement of the Jaguar XT4 supercomputer.
Once the second most powerful supercomputer in the world, the Cray machine was later eclipsed by its XT5 sibling—also named Jaguar. It was decommissioned March 8.
The system first went into service in February 2007, with 68 cabinets delivering a peak performance of 65 trillion calculations a second, or 65 teraflops. The peak performance jumped to 119 teraflops the following month when the XT4 was connected to the existing XT3 incarnation of Jaguar, placing that combined machine at number two on the Top500 List of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.
The system was upgraded once again in spring 2008, with 31,000 processing cores delivering up to 263 teraflops.
During its tenure the XT4 delivered more than 830 million processor hours to cutting-edge research in wide variety of fields, including climate, combustion, fusion, chemistry, materials science, and astrophysics. The system was a major instrument in the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program and its efforts to foster breakthroughs in computational research.
As of the November 2010, the system was still ranked 30th in the world.
“It had an amazingly long life for a cutting-edge platform,” noted OLCF Science Director Bronson Messer. “The incremental upgrade path had only been tried a few times, but it worked out great. We always got a more capable machine than we started out with, and the user experience barely changed.
“That’s all a computational scientist can ask for.”