Hardware, Software and System Performance

The VP Hardware, Software and Operating Environment

The Fujitsu VP2200 is a water-cooled 64-bit vector processor with a peak speed of 1.25 gigaflops. It has a clock cycle time of 3.2 ns (6.4 ns scalar cycle time), 32 kbytes of vector registers and four words-per-cycle bandwidth to memory. The main memory is 512 Mbytes and there is 1 Gbyte of SSU (secondary memory).

The VP2200 runs Fujitsu's System V Release 4 UNIX (UXP/M) and is available both for batch and interactive use. Network access is through TCP/IP connections onto the campus Ethernet, AARNet and the Internet. There is an FDDI connection to the mass data storage system, the CM-5 and the Visualization Laboratory and a number of other selected systems on campus.

Both a vectorizing FORTRAN compiler and a vectorizing C compiler are installed together with third-party software packages.

The VP2200 system and its software are now quite mature and few changes occurred in 1995. The LVCF disk management software was installed in 1995 allowing disk striping and concatenation of physical volumes. The system was available for 99.3 per cent of the year.

Although usage of packages is not high at ANU since many researchers are developing their own codes, the packaged software base is gradually growing and now includes:

Packages and libraries on the VP2200 include:
ChemistryMathematics GraphicsBiological Sciences
SPARTANEnvironmental Sciences

Mass Data Storage System

The robotic cartridge-tape data silo supplied by StorageTek was in its second year of use in 1995. The ACS4400 initially has approximately 2 terabyte capacity and is equipped with four 36 track tape drives plus 2 more on loan from StorageTek. These are expected to be upgraded with two helical scan 'Redwood' drives with speeds in excess of 10 Mbytes per second and with tape capacities such that the total amount of possible storage will be in the 150 to 300 terabyte range. Unfortunately delays in the supply of upgraded file migration software prevented the delivery of the Redwood system in 1995 and regrettably required the Facility to dampen demand for further growth of usage of the system.

These delays also forced the continued use of a Sun 690 as the file server, limiting the use that could be made of the eight to ten processor SPARCcentre 2000 with 60 Gbytes of disk array that is intended to be the file server. StorageTek continued to loan the University a 40 Gbyte RAID disk array to augment the disk space on the Sun 4/690.

Despite these difficulties, during the year usage and demand grew rapidly with the system accommodating 1.5 million files and almost 600 Gbytes of data (close to the planned capacity for the first stage). In addition to users of the supercomputer systems (and some specific projects from other ITS machines), there were 82 users supported in special projects on the mass storage system.

Australian Cooperative Supercomputer Facility Silicon Graphics PowerChallenge System

In late December the first stage of the ACSF PowerChallenge system was installed at the ANU. The system initially has 8 R8000 processors, 2 Gbytes of memory and 70 Gbytes of disk. In early 1996 it will be upgraded to 16 R10000 nodes with a peak spead of over 6 Gflops.

Other ANUSF systems

The Facility also makes generally available several graphics workstations in the Visualization Laboratory. These and the software environment are described in the relevant section of this report. In addition, a HP9000/735 workstation with a peak speed of 200 Mflops is available on a limited basis. The MATLAB package is installed on this machine. The 8 processor SPARCcentre SC2000 (see above) was also made available in a limited way to users while it awaited full incorporation into the mass data storage system. A FORTRAN 90 compiler from Cray Research is installed on the SC2000 and made available to users. The LINDA distributed computing environment is installed on ANUSF workstations for internal developmental use.

Connection Machine

In 1995, the Facility continued supporting users of the Connection Machine of the Parallel Computing Research Facility. As explained elsewhere in this report, a part of CM-5 resources were subject to allocation by the Time Allocation Committee.

The CM-5, installed in June 1992 with 32 nodes has a peak speed of 4 Gflops and 1 Gbytes of memory. It has a front-end Sun 4/690 with four processors, 256 Mbytes of memory and 8 Gbytes of disk. The CM-5 has a Fortran90-like compiler, C* (an extension of the C language), *LISP, the CMSSL scientific subroutine library, the CMX11 graphics library and miscellaneous support tools.