IBM J. Res. Dev

Overview of the QCDSP and QCDOC computers

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The QCDSP and QCDOC computers are two generations of multithousand-node multidimensional mesh-based computers designed to study quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of the strong nuclear force. QCDSP (QCD on digital signal processors), a four-dimensional mesh-machine, was completed in 1998; in that year, it won the Gordon Bell Prize in the price/performance category. Two large installations - of 8,192 and 12,288 nodes, with a combined peak speed of one teraflops - have been in operation since. QCD-on-a-chip (QCDOC) utilizes a six-dimensional mesh and compute nodes fabricated with IBM system-on-a-chip technology. It offers a tenfold improvement in price/performance. Currently, 100-node versions are operating, and there are plans to build three 12,288-node, 10-teraflops machines. In this paper, we describe the architecture of both the QCDSP and QCDOC machines, the operating systems employed, the user software environment, and the performance of our application - lattice QCD. © Copyright 2005 by International Business Machines Corporation.