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Grobblefruit Appreciation Society

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The things I do for money [Mar. 4th, 2007|10:27 pm]
Grobblefruit Appreciation Society
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I occasionally try to explain what I do for a living to people with varying degrees of success - so now I'd like to show you.

This is Jaguar.

It is the 10th most powerful supercomputer in the world and the most powerful open use machine (in other words if you have a good enough reason to use it, you can.) It is an XT3 built by Cray. To give you an idea how fast it is, it last scored 43480 on the linpack benchmark. The laptop I'm writing this on would score about 1.

Jaguar and machines like it need storage - lots of it, and it has to be fast. I work on Lustre, which is a piece of software designed from the ground up as a scalable filesystem for Jaguar and machines like it.

The two racks in the foreground contain just over a petabyte of storage - that's enough to hold the text from about a billion encyclopedias.


These are the disks and controllers for Jaguar. They were supplied by DDN, a partner of both Cray and my employer, and are extremely fast.

geeks and disks

Our software brings all of this together into a useful filesystem that applications can use like any other filesystem (e.g. ext3, ntfs, vfat.) Well, like those, but faster.

So there you go..


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[User Picture]From: scjody
2007-03-05 11:52 pm (UTC)
U. Ottawa has an XT3?

Jaguar is painted in the colours of the UT Volunteers, an extremely popular local sports team. They even got the head coach to sign the front.

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[User Picture]From: scjody
2007-03-06 12:05 am (UTC)
ah, lots of computers come in racks but most of them are just rackmount servers. Cray have always had style - their first machine doubles as a couch.
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[User Picture]From: pphaneuf
2007-07-12 05:50 am (UTC)
Yeah, the Ottawa U has a Cray somewhere in there. My former co-workers (I used to work for Cray) go fiddle there once in a while...

Their second one made a great bar-high round table, too, perfect for drinks among friends at a party. :-)
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[User Picture]From: rubberduckgrrl
2007-03-05 04:08 am (UTC)
I'm jealous! I miss being in a job where I can dye my hair funky colors! (When I was a computer nerd they didn't care what I looked like... as long as I showed up and did the job.)
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[User Picture]From: bdu
2007-03-05 05:09 am (UTC)
Man, that's some biiiig iron.
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[User Picture]From: steph_grrl
2007-03-05 05:58 am (UTC)

What I really want to know is...

How come you never see computers in floral prints? or Neutrals? Or Warm colours? Always Black and white, with florescent lighting....
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[User Picture]From: scjody
2007-03-05 11:53 pm (UTC)

Re: What I really want to know is...

Fluorescent lighting is because it's cheap..

But Jaguar and Phoenix are pretty neat looking machines as computers go - Jaguar in the orange and white of a local football team and Phoenix in deep red.
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[User Picture]From: dcoombs
2007-03-05 01:00 pm (UTC)
Why don't I see a single cable in these photos? Is this stuff plugged into anything? :)
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[User Picture]From: scjody
2007-03-05 11:57 pm (UTC)
OKOK, I uploaded a few more photos.

Here are a couple of other views of Jaguar:
Jaguar tunnel Jaguar back

You can see some of the interconnect cables in the photo on the right - there are quite a few. The cables between racks run overhead in the black trays on the photo on the left.

And here's part of the back of the DDN:
DDN back

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[User Picture]From: hypoxiaddict
2007-03-05 01:55 pm (UTC)
That's so awesome! Better than being a spy even.
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