18 hours, $33K, and 156,314 cores: Amazon cloud HPC hits a “petaflop”

One point twenty-one petaflops?!
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What do you do if you need more than 150,000 CPU cores but don’t have millions of dollars to spend on a supercomputer? Go to the Amazon cloud, of course.

For the past few years, HPC software company Cycle Computing has been helping researchers harness the power of Amazon Web Services when they need serious computing power for short bursts of time. The company has completed its biggest Amazon cloud run yet, creating a cluster that ran for 18 hours, hitting 156,314 cores at its largest point and a theoretical peak speed of 1.21 petaflops. (A petaflop is one quadrillion floating point operations per second, or a million billion.)

To get all those cores, Cycle’s cluster ran simultaneously in Amazon data centers across the world, in Virginia, Oregon, Northern California, Ireland, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, and São Paulo. The bill from Amazon ended up being $ 33,000.

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