"LinuxHPC: What is the architecture of the Altix systems, and
were any additional components used in the NASA installation?
"Jason: The SGI Altix 3000 server uses a near-uniform memory
access architecture first introduced by SGI in 1997 in the Origin
2000 server which utilized the 64-bit MIPS processor and SGI's UNIX
based IRIX operating system. SGI updated this architecture again in
the year 2000 when we introduced the Origin 3000 servers which
deploy a modular 'brick' based architecture that allows users to
add memory, processors, and additional system I/O independently,
enabling flexibility to build systems that fit their applications
needs exactly. Recently in 2003 SGI introduced the SGI Altix 3000
which updated this well-proven architecture by offering the Intel
Itanium 2 processor and scalable production ready Linux. Both the
SGI Origin and SGI Altix systems are built around our memory
channel interconnect called NUMAlink, which creates a flexible
switch based fabric, which acts as the systems backplane, and is
made up of routers and cables. Each NUMAlink 3 connection has an
aggregate bi-directional bandwidth of 3.2GB/second. This fabric of
routers and cables allow SGI Altix 3000 hardware to be configured
up to 512 processors and 8 Terabytes of cache-coherent memory
today. This capability in part of the standard system design so no
special hardware was required for the NASA system..."
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