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Windrider was ranked the 25th on the list of Green500 supercomputers

2011/08/03

The Green500 provides rankings of the world’s most energy-efficient supercomputers. The NCHC’s (National Center for High-Performance Computing) supercomputer “Windrider” (a.k.a. ALPS or Advanced Large-scale Parallel Supercluster) was ranked the 25th on the Green500 list, setting a new record since Taiwan joined the global rankings in the most energy-efficient supercomputers. Responding to the energy-efficient issue, the NCHC has devoted itself not only to continually advance its high-performance computing capability, but also to improve its energy-saving technology. The rankings on the world’s Top 500 and Green 500 supercomputers indicate that Windrider is superior in both computing capability and energy efficiency.

Installed in the NCHC’s Taichung Branch, Windrider consists of six rows of cabinets. To minimize the power consumption, the machine room is equipped with a Hot-Aisle/Cold-Aisle layout and inRow cooling system, in addition to the existing air-conditioning system. The PVC curtain is used to block the cold aisle to ensure effectively using the cold air, and heat is promptly pumped out through a closed refrigerant pipe to cool down the air. The design successfully reduces the demand for air conditioning.

The other crucial factor for energy efficiency is that NCHC applied hot/cold flow pattern simulation to the data center beforehand and confirmed the ideal placement of the cabinets. Windrider’s total electricity consumption is 758.4 kilowatts, less than one fifth of traditional supercomputers’ power consumption. In other words, Windrider generates 400.68 Mflops of computation per watt, and the PUE value is 1.72. This is a dazzling energy-efficient performance for a non-GPU processor supercluster.

 the photo of Windrider
Figure 1:  Windrider consists six rows of cabinets. PVC curtains block cold aisles, while hot aisles are open to the air. Above the units, black hot/cold pipes pump heat out of the cold lane through the refrigerant inside. 

the photo of cold/hot flow simulation
Figure 2:  Cold and hot flow simulation indicates how air goes in the cold aisle.

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