NEC SX

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An SX-5 on display at the Australian Technology Park

NEC SX describes a series of vector supercomputers designed, manufactured, and marketed by NEC. This computer series is notable for providing the first computer to exceed 1 gigaflop,[1][2] as well as the fastest supercomputer in the world between 1992-1993, and 2002-2004.[3] The current model, as of 2018, is the SX-Aurora TSUBASA.

History[edit]

The first models, the SX-1 and SX-2, were announced in April 1983, and released in 1985.[2][4][5][6] The SX-2 was the first computer to exceed 1 gigaflop.[1][2] The SX-1 and SX-1E were less powerful models offered by NEC.

The SX-3 was announced in 1989,[7][8] and shipped in 1990.[6] The SX-3 allows parallel computing using both SIMD and MIMD.[9] It also switched from the ACOS-4 based SX-OS, to the AT&T System V UNIX-based SUPER-UX operating system.[6] In 1992 an improved variant, the SX-3R, was announced.[6] A SX-3/44 variant was the fastest computer in the world between 1992-1993 on the TOP500 list.

The SX-4 series was announced in 1994, and first shipped in 1995.[6] Since the SX-4, SX series supercomputers are constructed in a doubly parallel manner.[citation needed] A number of central processing units (CPUs) are arranged into a parallel vector processing node.[citation needed] These nodes are then installed in a regular SMP arrangement.[citation needed]

The SX-5 was announced and shipped in 1998,[6] with the SX-6 following in 2001, and the SX-7 in 2002.[10] Starting in 2001, Cray marketed the SX-5 and SX-6 exclusively in the US, and non-exclusively elsewhere for a short time.[citation needed]

The Earth Simulator, built from SX-6 nodes, was the fastest supercomputer from June 2002 to June 2004 on the LINPACK benchmark, achieving 35.86 TFLOPS.[3][11][12][13]

Tadashi Watanabe has been NEC's lead designer for the majority of SX supercomputer systems.[14] For this work he received the Eckert–Mauchly Award in 1998 and the Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award in 2006.[citation needed]

Hardware[edit]

Each system has multiple models, and the following table lists the most powerful variant of each system. Further certain systems have revisions, identified by a letter suffix.

Single node SX systems
System Introduction Max. CPUs Peak CPU double precision GFLOPS Peak system GFLOPS Max. main memory System memory B/W (GB/s) Memory B/W per CPU (GB/s)
SX-1E[5][6][10] 1983 1 0.325[15] 128 MB
SX-1[5][10] 1983[6][10] 1 0.570[6] / 0.650[15] 256 MB
SX-2[5][10] 1983[6][10] 1 1.3[6] 1.3[10] 256 MB[6] 11 11
SX-3[7][8] 1990[10] 4[7][6] 5.5[8][10] 22[7][10] 2 GB[7] 44 22
SX-3R[citation needed] 1992
SX-4[10] 1994[16][10] 32 2 64 16 GB 512 16
SX-5[10] 1998[10][10] 16 8[10] 128 128 GB 1024 64
SX-6[10] 2001[10] 8 8[10] 64 64 GB 256 32
SX-6i[citation needed] 2001[10] 1 8 GB
SX-7[10] 2002[10] 32 8.83 282 256 GB 1129 35.3
SX-8[14][10] 2004[14][10] 8 16[10] 128 128 GB 512 64
SX-8i[citation needed] 2005 32 GB
SX-8R[citation needed] 2006 8 35.2 281.6 256 GB 563.2 70.4
SX-9[10] 2007 16 102.4[10] 1638 1 TB 4096 256
SX-ACE[citation needed] 2013 1 256 256 1 TB 256 256
SX-Aurora TSUBASA[citation needed] 2017 8 2450 19600 8 * 48GB 8 * 1200 1200
Multi-node SX systems[citation needed]
SX-4 SX-4A SX-5 SX-6 SX-8 SX-8R SX-9 SX-ACE
Max. nodes 16 16 32 128 512 512 512 512
Max. CPUs 512 256 512 1,024 4,096 4,096 8,192 512
Peak TFLOPS 1 0.5 4 8 65 140.8 839 131
Max. main memory 256 GB 512 GB 4 TB 8 TB 64 TB 128 TB 512 TB 32 TB
Total memory B/W (TB/s) 8 4 32 32 131 281.6 2,048 131

Software environment[edit]

Operating system[edit]

The SX-1 and SX-2 ran the ACOS-4 based SX-OS. The SX-3 onwards run the SUPER-UX operating system (OS); the Earth Simulator runs a custom version of this OS.

Compilers[edit]

SUPER-UX comes with Fortran and C++ compilers. Cray has also developed an Ada compiler which is available as an option.

Software[edit]

Some vertical applications are available through NEC, but in general customers are expected to develop much of their own software. In addition to commercial applications, there is a wide body of free software for the UNIX environment which can be compiled and run on SUPER-UX, such as Emacs, and Vim. A port of GCC is also available for the platform.

SX-Aurora TSUBASA[edit]

The SX-Aurora TSUBASA PCIe card is running in a Linux machine, the Vector Host (VH), which provides operating system services to the Vector Engine (VE).[17] The VE operating system VEOS runs in user space on the VH. Applications compiled for the VE can use almost all Linux system calls, they are transparently forwarded and executed on the VH. The components of VEOS are licensed under the GNU General Public License.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Watanabe, Tadashi (1990). "Advanced Architecture and Technology of the NEC SX-3 Supercomputer". Supercomputing. 62: 119–128. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-75771-6_8. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "NEC SX-1, SX-2". IPSJ Computer Museum. Information Processing Society of Japan. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b "The Earth Simulator: Earth Simulator Center | TOP500 Supercomputer Sites". www.top500.org. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  4. ^ Uchida, Keiichiro; Itoh, Mikio (July 1985). "High speed vector processors in Japan". Computer Physics Communications. 37 (1–3): 7–13. doi:10.1016/0010-4655(85)90131-6.
  5. ^ a b c d Watanabe, Tadashi (July 1987). "Architecture and performance of NEC supercomputer SX system". Parallel Computing. 5 (1–2): 247–255. doi:10.1016/0167-8191(87)90021-4.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Oyanagi, Yoshio (December 1999). "Development of supercomputers in Japan: Hardware and software". Parallel Computing. 25 (13–14): 1545–1567. doi:10.1016/S0167-8191(99)00084-8.
  7. ^ a b c d e Watanabe, Tadashi (1993). "NEC SX-3 Supercomputer System". Supercomputers and Their Performance in Computational Fluid Dynamics. Notes on Numerical Fluid Mechanics (NNFM). 37. doi:10.1007/978-3-322-87863-2_4.
  8. ^ a b c Watanabe, T.; Matsumoto, H.; Tannenbaum, P. D. (1 August 1989). "Hardware technology and architecture of the NEC SX-3/SX-X supercomputer system". Proceedings of the 1989 ACM/IEEE conference on Supercomputing. ACM: 842–846. doi:10.1145/76263.1379809.
  9. ^ IWAYA, AKIHIRO; WATANABE, TADASHI (September 1991). "THE PARALLEL PROCESSING FEATURE OF THE NEC SX-3 SUPERCOMPUTER SYSTEM". International Journal of High Speed Computing. 03 (03n04): 187–197. doi:10.1142/S0129053391000085.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa NISHIKAWA, Takeshi (2008). "Supercomputer SX-9 Development Concept" (PDF). NEC TECHNICAL JOURNAL Vol.3 No.4/2008. 3 (4). Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Earth-Simulator - TOP500 Supercomputer Sites". www.top500.org. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  12. ^ Habata, S; Yokokawa, M; Kitawaki, S (2003). "The earth simulator system" (PDF). NEC Research and Development. 44 (1): 21–26. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  13. ^ Habata, Shinichi; Umezawa, Kazuhiko; Yokokawa, Mitsuo; Kitawaki, Shigemune (December 2004). "Hardware system of the Earth Simulator". Parallel Computing. 30 (12): 1287–1313. doi:10.1016/j.parco.2004.09.004.
  14. ^ a b c Tagaya, Satoru; Nishida, Masato; Hagiwara, Takashi; Yanagawa, Takashi; Yokoya, Yuji; Takahara, Hiroshi; Stadler, Jörg; Galle, Martin; Bez, Wolfgang (2006). "The NEC SX-8 Vector Supercomputer System". High Performance Computing on Vector Systems. doi:10.1007/3-540-35074-8_1. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  15. ^ a b Dongarra, Jack J. (1988). "The LINPACK Benchmark: An explanation". Supercomputing: 456–474. doi:10.1007/3-540-18991-2_27.
  16. ^ Hammond, S.W.; Loft, R.D.; Tannenbaum, P.D. (1996). "Architecture and Application: The Performance of the NEC SX-4 on the NCAR Benchmark Suite - IEEE Conference Publication" (PDF). ieeexplore.ieee.org. doi:10.1109/SUPERC.1996.183527. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  17. ^ "NEC SX-Aurora TSUBASA - Vector Engine". www.nec.com. Retrieved 2018-03-14.

External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by
Fujitsu VP2600/10
4.0 gigaflops
World's most powerful supercomputer
(NEC SX-3/44)

1992
Succeeded by
Thinking Machines CM-5/1024
59.7 gigaflops