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Home > News Room > Grid Enables One of the World's Fastest Wide-Area Vector Supercomputing Environments

Grid Enables One of the World's Fastest Wide-Area Vector Supercomputing Environments --- Moving towards large-scale vector cloud computing ---

*** For immediate use June 2, 2009

Tokyo, June 2, 2009 - The Cyberscience Center, Tohoku University (Head Office: Sendai, Japan, Director: Hiroaki Kobayashi), the Cybermedia Center, Osaka University (Head Office: Osaka, Japan, Director: Haruo Takemura), National Institute of Informatics (Head Office: Tokyo, Japan, Director General: Masao Sakauchi, Hereinafter: NII) and NEC Corporation (Head Office: Tokyo, Japan, President and Representative Director: Kaoru Yano) jointly announced today the successful demonstration of one of the world's fastest vector supercomputing environments by creating a single virtual system through the connection of two remotely located vector supercomputers on NAREGI (National Research Grid Initiative) middleware developed by NII.

Vector computers are suitable for carrying out large scale scientific computing such as fluid dynamics, structural dynamics computations, new material research and climate simulations with high computation efficiency, as well as being an important base for cutting-edge R&D and product design. Tohoku University has deployed 16 nodes of NEC's SX-9 supercomputer (maximum vector theoretical performance: 26.2 TFLOPS *1) and Osaka University has deployed 10 nodes of the SX-9 (maximum vector theoretical performance: 16.4 TFLOPS), each of which boasts a high speed connection to the other through SINET3 (Science Information NETwork 3).

NAREGI middleware enables large-scale computing resources at research and development centers scattered over a large area to be closely interconnected through high speed networks. These network connections can be viewed as a single massive virtual computer that efficiently implements large-scale parallel simulations, which were formerly difficult for individually isolated computer systems to carry out.

A new Grid middleware component, the "GridVM for the SX Vector Computer," was developed by enhancing the existing capabilities of the NAREGI middleware, such as job management, information provision and resource usage control. The enhanced GridVM maintains high compatibility with the local job scheduler (NQS) on the SX-9, which enables the efficient use of vector computing resources even in the Grid environment. Moreover, it permits the co-existence of conventional (non-Grid) jobs and Grid jobs, allowing the computing center to provide a pioneering new cloud-computing service.

In this demonstration experiment, a parallelized electro-magnetic field simulation program was run by interconnecting two SX-9 systems both at Tohoku University and Osaka University with the use of parallel programming libraries for shared memory and distributed memory. As the first step in establishing the cloud computing environment, the virtualization of the computing resources at both centers was made by integrating the newly developed GridVM for the SX-9 into the NAREGI middleware. Furthermore, it was successfully demonstrated that running jobs is possible with the automatic, selective allocation of jobs between two supercomputers in accordance with the system load status of each system, making the maximum utilization of resources over the entire Grid possible.

Looking forward, these organizations will continue their efforts to realize a vector-based cloud computing environment as a new academic information infrastructure that allows the overall application software to run efficiently with enhanced usability and reduced cost through cooperation with many organizations that possess vector computers.

As a result, it is expected that an advanced scientific computing environment can be established with the following new services;

  • Running jobs through the automatic assessment of user requirements
    (e.g. shortest time-to-solution, lowest cost, etc.)
  • Automatically searching for application locations in accordance with user preferences
  • Automatically detecting the most effective computing resources
    (e.g. vector computer for conducting fluid dynamics simulations)
  • Providing the user with high performance computing services and university-created application software services made available in a unified environment via the consolidation and virtualization of computing resources over the Internet

This research has been conducted as part of the establishment of the Cyber Science Infrastructure promoted by the National Institute of Informatics.

About the NAREGI Middleware System
NAREGI makes fundamental building blocks in the Cyber Science Infrastructure (CSI), and its goal is to provide a large-scale computing environment for widely-distributed, advanced research and education (the Science Grid). NAREGI, the National Research Grid Initiative, was launched in 2003 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). From 2006 through 2007, the research and the development were continued under the "Science Grid NAREGI" Program of the "Development and Application of Advanced High-performance Supercomputer project" being promoted by MEXT. The NAREGI Grid Middleware Ver. 1.0 was released in 2008. NII endeavors to build the Grid infrastructure by continuing software maintenance and user support services.

About Tohoku University
Tohoku University is committed to the "Research First" principle and "Open-Door" policy since its foundation, and is internationally recognized for its outstanding standards in education and research. The university contributes to world peace and equity by devoting itself to research useful in the solutions of societal problems and for the education of human resources in the capacities of leadership.

About Osaka University
Osaka University has evolved from its former incarnation since the semi-privatization of what were known as Japan's national universities, stepping forward in a new direction. The university has from the beginning inherited the spirit of the citizens of Osaka present in the university's founding institutions, Kaitokudo and Tekijuku, which were deeply rooted in the city of Osaka. With this spirit, Osaka University has always and across generations answered to the needs and issues of society, under the axiom "Live Locally, Grow Globally." As the world faces a new period in history, Osaka University shall use the opportunity afforded it through semi-privatization, and in looking forward to a future of substantial development, reaffirm those principles on which it firmly stands.

About the National Institute of Informatics
As Japan's only general academic research institution seeking to create future value in the new discipline of informatics, the National Institute of Informatics (NII) seeks to advance integrated research and development activities in information-related fields, including networking, software and content. These activities range from theoretical and methodological work to applications. As an inter-university research institute, NII promotes the creation of a state-of-the-art academic-information infrastructure (the Cyber Science Infrastructure, or CSI) that is essential to research and education within the broader academic community, with a focus on partnerships and other joint efforts with universities and research institutions throughout Japan, as well as industries and civilian organizations.

About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation is one of the world's leading providers of Internet, broadband network and enterprise business solutions dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of a diversified global base of customers. NEC delivers tailored solutions in the key fields of computer, networking and electron devices, by integrating its technical strengths in IT and Networks, and by providing advanced semiconductor solutions through NEC Electronics Corporation. The NEC Group employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. For additional information, please visit the NEC website at:

NEC is a registered trademark of NEC Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Other product or service marks mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners. (C)2009 NEC Corporation.



One trillion floating point operations per second

*2 Vector supercomputer:

A supercomputer with high-speed processor(s) called vector processor(s) that is used for scientific/engineering computation. Vector supercomputers deliver high performance in complex, large-scale computation, such as climates, aeronautics/ space, environmental simulations, fluid dynamics and electro-magnetic field simulations through the processing of array-handling with a single vector instruction.
The NEC SX-9 supercomputer boasts the world fastest single-CPU performance of 102.4 GFLOPS (or 102.4 billion floating point operations per second).

Press Contacts:

Joseph Jasper
NEC Corporation

Itsuki Yamauchi
Tohoku University

Osaka University

National Institute of Informatics

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