Cray launches eight-teraflop supercomputer in US

Supercomputer manufacturer Cray has launched in the U.S. a new sub-US$1 million supercomputer designated the Cray SX-6, capable of making eight trillion calculations per second (eight teraflops), the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The machine is a rebadged version of NEC Corp.'s SX-6, and the launch marks the first time that NEC supercomputers have been made available for sale in the U.S., following the lifting of import duties earlier this year, Cray said.

The SX-6 consists of up to 128 separate nodes; each node contains eight single-chip processors each capable of performing eight billion floating-point calculations per second (eight gigaflops). The nodes communicate through the SX-6's symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) shared memory system. The SX-6 offers shared memory of up to 64G bytes per node, memory bandwidth of up to 256G bytes per second per node, and an I/O bandwidth of 6.4G bytes per second per node, Cray said.

Supercomputers are used for the heaviest number-crunching loads found in civilian, government and military applications. Typical applications include image and graphics processing, acoustic analysis, plus large-scale simulations for weather forecasting, fluid dynamics, automotive, aerospace and computational chemistry purposes.

NEC is a strong supporter of shared memory supercomputers. These have been vying with massively-parallel distributed memory machines for dominance in the supercomputer world.

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