What is remarkable about the ATLAS cluster is that we were able to take the lead very cost-effectively with a creative combination of more processors at lower clock rates and a higher Ethernet switching efficiency, explained Professor Bruce Allen, director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics. Wovens 10 Gigabit Ethernet Fabric switch is able to deliver sustained performance at an impressive 64 percent of the theoretical peak. The HPC Linpack experts we consulted tell us that they have never seen such a high level of Ethernet efficiency on such a large cluster. Without the Woven switch, ATLAS would not be the worlds fastest Ethernet cluster. Its that simple.
The Institute attributes Wovens unprecedented efficiency to the vSCALE ASICs Dynamic Congestion Avoidance capability that is constantly balancing traffic loads intelligently and in real-time along available paths in the non-blocking 10 GE fabric. A clusters computational efficiency is critical to its performance, and efficiency is determined by the networks ability to handle inter-processor communications. The efficiency is calculated using the Linpack benchmark from the ratio of the actual performance to the theoretical peak performance for all processors in the cluster. Of the 285 Gigabit Ethernet clusters on the Top 500 List, only six achieved a computational efficiency greater than 60 percent and of those, ATLAS was the most powerful. Of the remaining Gigabit Ethernet clusters, 76 had efficiencies of 50 percent or less; 97 had efficiencies of 51-55 percent and 106 had efficiencies of 56-60 percent.
Woven Systems Inc.