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Blue GeneBlue Gene is an IBM project aimed at designing supercomputers that can reach operating speeds in the PFLOPS (petaFLOPS) range, with low power consumption. The project created three generations of supercomputers, Blue Gene/L, Blue Gene/P, and Blue Gene/Q. Blue Gene systems have led for several years the Top500 and Green500 rankings of the most powerful and most power efficient supercomputers, respectively, and have been deployed in many supercomputing centers. The project was awarded the 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation.HistoryIn December 1999, IBM announced a $100 million research initiative for a five-year effort to build a massively parallel computer, to be applied to the study of biomolecular phenomena such as protein folding. The project had two main goals: to advance our understanding of the mechanisms behind protein folding via large-scale simulation, and to explore novel ideas in massively parallel machine architecture and software. Major areas of investigation included: how to use this novel platform to effectively meet its scientific goals, how to make such massively parallel machines more usable, and how to achieve performance targets at a reasonable cost, through novel machine architectures. The initial design for Blue Gene was based on an early version of the Cyclops64 architecture, designed by Monty Denneau. The initial research and development work was pursued at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.In 1999 Alan Gara moved from Columbia University, were he had been leading work on the QCDOC architecture to the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. The QCDOC system was a special purpose computer for QCD computations; it used a chip with an embedded PowerPC core on it. At IBM, Alan Gara started working on an extension of the QCDOC architecture into a more general-purpose supercomputer: The 4D nearest-neighbor interconnection network was replaced by a network supporting routing of messages from any node to any other; and a parallel I/O subsystem was added. DOE started funding the development of this system and it became known as Blue Gene/L (L for Light); development of the original Blue Gene system continued under the name Blue Gene/C (C for Cyclops) and, later, Cyclops64.In November 2001, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) joined IBM as a research partner for Blue Gene. Development proceeded at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center and at IBM Rochester with the goal of delivering a system to LLNL.Blue Gene/QThe third supercomputer design in the Blue Gene series, Blue Gene/Q aims to reach 20 Petaflops in the 2012 time frame. It continues to expand and enhance the Blue Gene/L and /P architectures.DesignThe Blue Gene/Q Compute chip is an 18 core chip. The 64-bit PowerPC A2 processor cores are 4-way simultaneously multithreaded, and run at 1.6 GHz. Each processor core has a SIMD Quad-vector double precision floating point unit, the QPU, after which the system is named. The processor cores are linked by a crossbar switch to a 32 MB eDRAM L2 cache, operating at half core speed. The L2 cache is multi-versioned, supporting transactional memory and speculative execution, and has hardware support for atomic operations. L2 cache misses are handled by two built-in DDR3 memory controllers running at 1.33 GHz. The chip also integrates logic for chip-to-chip communications in a 5D torus configuration, with 2GB/s chip-to-chip links. 16 Processor cores are used for computing, and a 17th core for operating system assist functions such as interrupts, asynchronous I/O, MPI pacing and RAS. The 18th core is used as a spare in case one of the other cores is permanently damaged, like in manufacturing, but is normally shut down. The Blue Gene/Q chip is manufactured on IBM's copper SOI process at 45 nm, and will deliver 205 GFLOPS at 1.6 GHz and draw 55 watts. It is 19×19 mm large (359.5 mm²) and comprises 1.47 billion transistors. The chip is mounted on a compute card along with 16 GB DDR3 DRAM (i.e., 1 GB for each user processor core).A Q32 compute drawer will have 32 compute cards, each water cooled and connected into a 5D network torus.Racks will have 32 compute drawers for a total of 1024 compute nodes, 16,384 user cores and 16 TB RAM.Separate I/O drawers will be air cooled and contain 8 compute cards and 8 PCIe expansion slots for Infiniband or 10 Gigabit Ethernet networking.PerformanceAt the time of the Blue Gene/Q system announcement in November 2011, an initial 4-rack Blue Gene/Q system (4096 nodes, 65536 user processor cores) achieved #17 in the TOP500 list with 677.1 TeraFLOPS Linpack, outperforming the original 2007 104-rack BlueGene/L installation described above. The same 4-rack system achieved the top position in the Graph500 list with over 250 GTEPS (giga traversed edges per second). Blue Gene/Q systems also topped the Green500 list of most energy efficient supercomputers with about 2 GFLOPS/W.InstallationsThe archetypal Blue Gene/Q system called Sequoia will be installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2012 as a part of the Advanced Simulation and Computing Program running nuclear simulations and advanced scientific research. It will consist of 98,304 compute nodes comprising 1.6 million processor cores and 1.6 PB memory in 96 racks covering an area of about 3,000 square feet (280 m2), drawing 6 megawatts of power.A Blue Gene/Q system called Mira will be installed at Argonne National Laboratory in the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility early in 2012. It will consist of 49,152 compute nodes, with 70 PB of disk storage (470 GB/s I/O bandwidth).