Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing China
Victor G. Stickel (Technology Analyst, ATIP)
The Institute of Computing Technology (ICT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is located in the Zhonguancun hi-tech zone of Beijing. Professor Zhiwei XU is the Deputy Director of ICT as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Computer Research and Development. According to Prof. XU, ICT has two main goals in the area of computing research. First and foremost, ICT is a government research institute for the development of High Performance Computing hardware and software. Another main goal of ICT, deemed to be nearly as important as the first goal, is the transfer of technology to the marketplace. To the end, ICT has its closest industry relationship with Dawning Information Technology Co. Ltd. Additionally, ICT is a shareholder in Legend Group Ltd.
ICT currently has approxiamtely1000 members comprised of 50 faculty members, 200 visiting researchers and 700 graduate students. The annual budget for the institute in 2002 was USD 20M. Hosted within the ICT is the National Research Institute for Intelligent Computing Systems (NCIC) which is directed by Dr. Ninghui SUN. The NCIC is comprised of 120 faculty, visiting researchers and graduate students. Dr. SUN is overseeing the development of the Dawning-based high performance computers and has outlined a roadmap for their development up until 2005.
The current Dawning roadmap is part of the 10th 5-year plan lasting from 2001-2005. The roadmap outlines the development of 4 new Dawning machines, the first of which was recently completed and announced in March, 2003. Three of these four machines carry the "4000" designation indicating the basic hardware technology. The designation for the fourth machine is yet to be decided.
The first machine is the Dawning 4000L where "L" stands for Linux as the machine uses a Linux based operating system. This machine has more than 3 Teraflops peak performance with 644 processors, 644GB of physical memory and 100 teraflops of storage. The 4000L may be upgraded in the future to 6.75 teraflops peak performance by doubling the number of processors to 1,300, and increasing physical memory and storage to 4 terabytes and 600 terabytes, respectively. The budget for this machine was USD 5M. The machine was designed for data processing applications.
The second machine on the roadmap is the Dawning 4000A machine with "A" indicating advanced. This machine is part of an HPC special project under the 863 Program. This project is the China National Grid (CN Grid). The CN Grid is to have 8-10 nodes and the 4000A machine will be the largest node. The project is being led by Prof. Zhiwei XU and is meant to be a testbed for Grid-enabling HPC and grid-based applications. The machine is scheduled to be completed in June 2004 and has a budget of USD 7M. Additionally, there is talk of using a 64bit Linux-based OS for the machine.
The third machine, designated Dawning 4000H (H=High Density), is being designed for bioinformatics applications. It is meant to be similar to IBM’s Blue Gene L. This machine has a projected completion date of Fall 2004 and a budget of USD 1.2M. The budget is to be divided equally between hardware development and algorithm development. The Dawning 4000H will be located at the Beijing Genomics Institute which is about 40 minutes from downtown Beijing in the Beijing Airport Industrial Zone.
The fourth and final Dawning machine in the current roadmap will also be based on the 4000 level basic hardware technology but it is to be a concept machine. It has been described as a "Grid server" and a "natural grid machine", however, more specific details have not yet been released. The planned budget for this machine is USD 300K.