The Top 500 of the world’s most powerful supercomputers has one very exceptional system on its list: after all, the copy of Descartes Labs only exists in the cloud.

The copy of Descartes Labs is ranked 136th on the list of the most powerful HPC systems in the world. The supercomputer has a basic computing power of 1.9 petaflops and is used, among other things, to simulate how people use up the earth’s natural wealth, or to map weather patterns. Such workloads are reasonably standard for HPC infrastructure. Less standard is the fact that this supercomputer only exists in the cloud.

EC2 C5 Supercomputer

The system is built on Amazon’s EC2 C5 Instance cluster us-east-1a and uses 3 GHz 18 core Xeon Platinum 8124M cpus. The virtual supercomputer has a total of 41,472 computing cores, assisted by 157,824 GB of RAM. The HPC cluster runs Amazon Linux 2. With the system, Descartes has the world’s first supercomputer in the top 500 that is built entirely in a commercial cloud.

The computer is a demonstration of what is possible in the world of the cloud, says Mike Warren, CTO and co-founder of Descartes, to Bloomberg. You don’t have to own any software anymore and there is no high entry cost for the system. Descartes pays $5,000 for the system. If you want to put a similar supercomputer in your own basement, you should soon have several tens of millions in your bank account.

Second first

In 1998, Warren helped build the first Top 500 supercomputer to run Linux at a time when HPC systems were all connected to their own OS. Today, the HPC specialist has a new first with the AWS supercomputer. Amazon itself already made it to the top 500, but did so with servers that were not publicly available through the cloud offering. For the Descartes supercomputer, Warren worked exclusively with commercially available cloud hardware. He built the system without additional help from AWS.

Warren and Descartes use the system for essential calculations and the HPC specialist thinks that the approach could be interesting for other companies as well. Our achievement on the list is a nice demonstration of the capabilities of the cloud, but we don’t claim it’s the right way for everyone to solve specific problems. Warren does think that cloud HPC will be very valuable for a lot of companies.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.