The Jim Austin Computer Collection

IBM BlueGene/L
ibm bluegene l   blu gine

This is an example of IBM's BlueGene/L supercomputer series. As of 2011 it is the fastest computer in the collection at 5.3Tf. (that's 5,300,000,000,000 operations per second). In 2005, when this machine was installed in Edinburgh supercomputer centre it was the 64th fastest computer in the world - amazing given its size. It probably cost about $1.3 Million.

The odd trapezoid shape is for cooling the air enters at the bottom right, and goes out top left.

The system contains 1024 processors with 2048 cores, a peak performance of 5.374 Tflops. Compared to my laptop (2011) which has 20Gflop processor - thats 268 times faster. Each processor is a PowerPC 440 700 MHz (2.8 GFlops). The machine came with almost half of the processing nodes missing (13 cards - 208 processors - 416 cores). It has not front end machine at the moment.

The Compute Node consists of two Blue Gene/L ASICs and 512 MB of Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory (SDRAM). Sixteen such cards plug into a node card. The total RAM memory is 0.5 Tb.
ibm bluegene Processor cards
This shows the construction of the air flow chambers on either side. The rack from side The node boards

bluegene processors  
Close up of the processors in the rack    


Processor card  
16 Processors on a card (each has a pair of chips) Close up of the 16 compute units on a node  


Cooling!   The side showing the missing cards

The Blue Gene/L compute cabinet is based on the commercially available 40U (101.6 cm x 4.445 cm (40 x 1.75 inches)), 48.26 cm (19 inches) wide racks. It is custom designed to accommodate two midplane assemblies and the horizontal left-to-right airflow required to air cool the ~25 kW of a fully loaded 1024 compute processor rack. It takes 100A three phase US spec. power.

The machine its self has no disks, it looks like a file system to a front end processor.