SOSCIP boasts Canada's fastest supercomputer

By Communications Staff
November 13, 2012

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The Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP), a research consortium with Western at its core, recently announced its IBM Blue Gene/Q system has been named the fastest supercomputer in Canada on the Top 500 list of the world’s top supercomputers.

Established in April, SOSCIP pairs academic and industry researchers with high-performance computing to analyze big data. Consortium members include the IBM Canada Research and Development Centre as well as seven Ontario universities, led by Western and the University of Toronto. Other participants include McMaster, Queen’s, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Ottawa and Waterloo.

SOSCIP pairs state-of-the-art high-performance computing hardware at the University of Toronto with open-source cloud computing and agile computing infrastructure at Western to better manage and apply big data to solve complex research challenges. Together, the two universities and their consortial partners, will focus the infrastructure at each location on research related to cities, healthcare, water conservation, energy monitoring and management and agile computing.

Canada’s top supercomputer has more than 40,000 water-cooled processors – the equivalent processing power of 3 million smartphones, or 6,500 new, high-end laptops. The system is 30 times faster, 10 times smaller and uses five times less electricity than Canada’s previous top supercomputer. 

The Blue Gene-Q system was installed in September 2012 with funding support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Overall, SOSCIP ranked No. 68 in the world.

Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., was named the world’s fastest supercomputer in the 40th edition of the twice-yearly Top 500 list. Titan achieved 17.59 Petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) on the Linpack benchmark. 

In claiming the top spot, Titan knocked Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Sequoia out of No. 1 and into second. Sequoia, another IBM BlueGene/Q system, was No. 1 in June 2012 with an impressive 16.32 Petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark.

Rounding out the top five systems are Fujitsu’s K computer installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan (No. 3); a BlueGene/Q system named Mira at Argonne National Laboratory (No. 4); and a BlueGene/Q system named JUQUEEN at the Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany (No. 5), which was upgraded and is now the most powerful system in Europe.


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