Overview prepares Jaguar users for coming upgrades

Users got a first glimpse of ORNL’s next-generation leadership-class supercomputer at a July 26 webinar.

In a significant step toward exascale computing, the OLCF is upgrading Jaguar, a Cray XT5 machine that is currently the third-fastest computer in the world. When the upgrades are completed, the new version, Titan, is expected to reach 10 to 20 thousand trillion calculations a second (10 to 20 petaflops) and achieve up to nine times the performance of today’s Jaguar.

Bronson Messer, a senior research and development staff member in the OLCF Scientific Computing Group, presented an overview on the transformation of Jaguar into Titan and the planned timeline for the staged upgrades. Robert Whitten, HPC user support specialist and education program manager for the OLCF, spoke about training opportunities and workshops for future Titan users. The 67 attendees included current and prospective users and academic institution and industry representatives, as well as personnel from DOE and National Science Foundation facilities.

“There was a need to inform users of our plans so they can prepare their plans and research goals around the Titan upgrade and the necessary interruptions to Jaguar and the attendant downtime and unavailability of the machines to the users,” said Whitten.

Jaguar’s 200 cabinets will be upgraded incrementally to a Cray XK6 machine, a hybrid computing architecture consisting of a combination of 16-core AMD central processing units (CPUs) and NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs). In the later stages of the upgrade, GPUs will be installed in ten cabinets to give staff and select users an opportunity to preview what Titan will be like. The final stage of transforming Jaguar into Titan will include the addition of GPUs in all cabinets. The result will be an innovative hybrid CPU/GPU system paving the way toward future exascale computing.

Future workshops, live and webcast, will be offered in October, November, and December, with the annual spring training taking place in March 2012. — by Sandra Allen McLean