Highly concurrent multi-threaded application requires hardware

psihodelia Source

I am looking for a hardware, which must run about 256 computationally intensive real-time concurrent tasks in 24 hour mode (one multi-threaded C application). Each task takes about 40-50 MFLOPs, so all tasks require about 10 GFLOPs. CPU-RAM speed is insignificant. All tasks must be managed by a Linux Kernel (32 bit, with SMP).

I am looking for a one-mainboard solution with one multi-core CPU (if such CPU exist). If such CPU doesn't exist, then I need one mulit-socket mainboard solution (with multiple CPUs).

Can you please recommend me any professional CPU/Mainboard solution which will satisfy such requirements? It is also very important that there are no issues with Linux Kernel (2.6.25). No virtualization, no needs in huge RAM or CPU cache. I also would prefer Intel architecture and well-proved stability. I still have doubts that it is feasible at all.

Thank you in advance.

UPDATE: I think I have found a right answer here and here.



answered 9 years ago jldupont #1

  1. Rent some Amazon EC2 nodes.

  2. Updated: How about PS3's then? The NASA uses them for their simulation engines.

  3. Maybe use CPU+GPU's in commercial servers?

  4. Build it around FPGAs: nowadays, some variants include processors that can run Linux.

answered 9 years ago Timo Geusch #2

Get a bunch of four- or eight-core machines and split the processing across the machines using some sort of grid or clustering software. Maybe have a look at Beowulf.

As you mentioned, 10GFlops isn't exactly to be sneezed at so in a single machine, it'll be expensive. There's also the problem what you do when the machine breaks, you're unlikely to have a second machine of similar spec available. If you build a cluster using commodity hardware, you're a little more resilient and it's easier to find replacement machines.

answered 9 years ago Aaron #3

Not Intel architecture but these run linux and have 64 cores on a single die.


answered 9 years ago Adam Davis #4

Even though you've given us the specs you think you need, we might be able to help you out better if you tell us what the application is intended to accomplish, and how it was implemented.

There may be a better way to split the work up or deal with it rather than your current solution.

answered 9 years ago Joe Koberg #5

UltraSPARC T2 has 8 cores with 8 threads each. Integrated high-bandwidth memory and IO. The T5140 carries two of them for 128 hardware threads.

The theoretical max raw performance of the 8 floating point units is 11 Giga flops per second (GFlops/s). A huge advantage over other implementations however is that 64 threads can share the units and thus we can achieve an extremely high percentage of theoretical peak. Our experiments have achieved nearly 90% of the 11 Gflop/s. - (http://blogs.oracle.com/deniss/entry/floating_point_performance_on_the)

answered 9 years ago jsbueno #6

I see you'd prefer intel, but if you need one chip, I will again suggest the cell processor - its theoretical peak performance is arount 25GFlops - kernel 2.6.25 had support for it already.

You could try a pre-slim playstation 3 for experimenting with (that would cost you little) or get yourself a server-based solution at around US$8K - you will have to re-write and fine tune your threads to take advabtage of the SPU co-processors there, but you could achieve your computational needs without breaking a sweat with a single CELL (1 PPC core + 8 SPU's)

NB.: with a playstation 3, you'd have only 6 available co-processors - but you don't seen to be on a budget with this project - So you could at least try IBM's cell developer kit, which offers an emulator, to see if you can code your solution to run on it.

Thre are commercially available CELL products, both as stand-alone servers in blade form factory, and PCI Express add-on boards for PC workstations from Mercury Computer Systems: http://www.mc.com/microsites/cell/products.aspx?id=6986

Mercury does not list any prices on the site, but the pricing seens to be around the previoulsy mentioned U$8000.00 for these PCI Express cards.

A playstation 3 videogame can be purchased for about U$300.00 - and would allow you to prototype your application, and check if it is up to the needed performance. (I myself got one and have Fedora 9 running on it, although I did that as a hobbyst and have not, so far, used it for any calculations - I had also put together a Playstation-3 12 machinne cluster for Molecular simulations at the local University. The application they run did not take advantage of the multimedia SPU's, while I was in touch with then. But even so, clocked at 3.5GHz they performed better than standard ,s imlarly priced, PC's, even considering PS3's are priced 5x higher around here)

answered 9 years ago Eric Seppanen #7

MFLOPS and GFLOPS are very poor indicators of how well a program can run on any given CPU. These days, cache footprint is much more important; perhaps branch prediction accuracy as well.

There's almost no way to gauge performance of a given application on different architectures without actually giving it a spin. And even then, you may not get a good idea if you were unlucky enough to unknowingly build with compiler options that ruined your cache footprint, or used a bad threading library, or any of a hundred other things.

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