BigBen (XT3)

BigBen was a Cray XT3 MPP system with 2068 compute nodes linked by a custom-designed interconnect. Each compute node held one dual-core 2.6 GHz AMD Opteron processor ( model 285). Each core had its own cache, but the two cores on a node shared 2 Gbytes of memory and the network connection. Nineteen dedicated I/O nodes were also connected to this network.

BigBen was primarily intended to run applications with very high levels of parallelism or concurrency (512-4136 cores).

When it was installed at PSC in 2005, BigBen  was the world’s first Cray XT3.  It was decommissioned in 2010. 

Research enabled by BigBen

A few of the important research projects enabled by BigBen are highlighted below. To see more, check the Projects in Scientific Computing archive.

Bursts of Stellar Turbulence

David Porter and Paul Woodward, University of Minnesota

With PSC’s Cray XT3, Paul Woodward and David Porter figured out how to do the hardest thing: run small to medium-sized problems really fast.
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Ganging up on Storms

Ming Xue, director of CAPS and Steven Weiss, science and operations officer of the NOAA Storm Prediction Center in Norman

PSC staff and resources make possible an unprecedented experiment in “ensemble” forecasting of severe storms.
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Strange Action at the Active Site

Shawn Brown and Troy Wymore, PSC; John Hempel, University of Pittsburgh

Quantum simulation of an enzyme reaction gives initially baffling results that point toward a surprising new insight..
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