NEC and SUN are teaming up to build hybrid supercomputers; they’re going to blend SUN’s Fire servers with NEC’s SX-series supercomputer to form a “hybrid supercomputer”.
From their press-release:
“Hybrid” supercomputing solutions provide a superior benefit for customers who wish to utilize both vector and scalar computing environments based on the suitability of customer codes. This solution also provides the capability to share data between vector and scalar computing environments.
They also comitted to several other agreements; NEC will also play the role as the integrator of those hybrid-supercomputers.
I really like to see how they’re going to mash together those two pretty different systems. NEC has their own methode of connecting SX-8 nodes with their Internode Crossbar Switch (IXS), whereas SUN Fire servers are regular SMP-machines which are connected by Infiniband or, more traditionally, by Gigabit Ethernet.
If they want “to share data between vector and scalar computing environments” I’d say that they hve to couple those pretty different architectures tightly. How to do that? I don’t know yet.
However, the TOP500 already mention a machine from SUN, an Opteron x4600 Cluster, which is supposed to be a NEC/SUN combination. The NEC-portion is the storage-subsystem, they delivered their iStorage S1800AT for use with SUN’s x4600. Interestingly they also utilize Clearspeed’s accelerator-boards which deliver up to 50 GFLOPS per board at only 25 Watts. The supercomputer is ranked 9th in the list.