By Matthew Dublin
An IBM patent filing provides some insight into the architecture on IBM's BlueGene/Q "and its successor, a system that will have close to 8.4 million processing cores and consume 16 megawatts, which is being touted as the first 100 petaflop supercomputer. BlueGene/Q will come to life as the "Sequoia" system at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) some time next year. The Sequoia system will have 1,572,864 cores, 98,304 compute nodes and 96 racks.
The patent contains more than 649 pages and 2263 individual claims and descriptions describes the basic architecture of the system consists of 1024 compute node ASICS that are built into 512 racks. Each compute node is comprised of a 4-way hardware-threaded quad-core PowerPC A2 CPU architecture and each unit has 18 cores: one core to improve chip yield, one for system control, and 16 for actual computation. Each node includes 32 MB of memory with a total memory bandwidth per node is 563 GB/s.
While the BlueGene/Q system at LLNL will reach a peak performance of 20 petaflops, IBM's patent describes the system as being capable of 107 petaflops.
Five years ago, IBM's BlueGene/L, capable of 280.6 TFlop/s, was the most powerful system on the block.
But if Big Blue can deliver on what they promise in their patent, then this new BlueGene/Q-based system could be 381 times faster than BlueGene/L.