The epic of Gilgamesh: CREWES' new cluster computer

Kayla Bonham, Kevin W. Hall, and Robert J. Ferguson


Gilgamesh is the new parallel Linux cluster computer recently purchased, installed, and put into service by the CREWES project at the University of Calgary. Gilgamesh consists of a vertical rack containing multiple 1U servers manufactured by Super Micro of Santa Clara, California. The architecture of the system is of a 6U master node with 14 TB of disk capacity, acting as gateway and file server to 18 identical worker nodes with smaller local disks.

Each node has two quad-core Intel XEON 5400 CPU chips running at 2.66 GHz, a two-level cache, 16 GB RAM and 300 GB local disk. This gives the cluster a total of 152 CPUs, 300 GB RAM and 20 TB disk storage. The estimated combined raw CPU performance (assuming minimal swapping, communications and I/O activity) is approximately 1 TFLOPS.

Gigabit Ethernet is the communications backbone. CentOS 5 Linux is the operating system on all nodes. The rack has space for future expansion and upgrades. Power and cooling capacity within the server room are issues of concern regarding upgrades.

Gilgamesh is providing CREWES faculty, staff and student researchers with high throughput data processing using commercial and locally-developed software packages, and provides a test platform for exploring and developing parallel algorithms for 3D geophysical modelling applications.

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