Supercomputers are not just incredibly fast. Many of them are also created to look great. Some of them look so beautiful and artistic that I have decided to start showing off their art. This post will review several selected supercomputers from Cray which is, in my opinion, the most artistic company if we judge by the look of its products.
This is NERSC‘s Cray Edison supercomputer cluster at the Oakland Scientific Facility. Edison is a Cray XC30, with a peak performance of 2.57 petaflops/sec, 133,824 compute cores, 357 terabytes of memory, and 7.56 petabytes of disk and is NERSC’s fastest supercomputer:
And this is Kraken, a Cray XT5 supercomputer from 2009. Kraken was operated by the University of Tennessee and was the most powerful supercomputer in the world managed by academia at the time. Kraken was decommissioned on April 30, 2014, but was nonetheless a beautiful machine:
This is another beautiful supercomputer from Cray: XC40 Magnus. The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Australia uses a 35,712-core XC40 called “Magnus” for general science research. This supercomputer has a processing power of 1.097 petaflops:
Here is SISU – another XC40 supercomputer developed by Cray for Finland. National IT center for science CSC had SISU completed in 2014. It has 40,512 cores with overall peak performance of 1,688 TFlops.
Hopper was NERSC‘s first petaflop system, a Cray XE6, with a peak performance of 1.28 Petaflops/sec, 153,216 compute cores, 212 Terabytes of memory, and 2 Petabytes of disk. This supercomputer was named after the American computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper and was placed number 5 on the November 2010 Top500 Supercomputer list. Hopper was retired on Dec 15, 2015.
And, finally, this is Cray XC40, which was developed for Swedish PDC Center for High Performance Computing. Its art is, naturally, follows the Swedish theme:
I think that’s enough of Cray’s art for one day, but in summary, they do hire some great artists and marketing folks to turn their powerful supercomputers into unique and powerful works of art.
However, supercomputers don’t always need these types of decorations to look great. Some of them are designed to do so. But let’s talk about that in part two…