Shanghai Supercomputer Center
Victor Stickel (ATIP Senior Technology Analyst)
Occupying 8000 m2 in a three-story ultra-modern building, the Shanghai Supercomputer Center (SSC) is a beautiful research facility located in the Zhangjiang High-Tech Zone in Pudong, Shanghai. Officially established on December 28, 2000, SSC bills itself as a "nationwide first-rate, large-scale, high-performance (computing) application environment with advanced facilities and full-functionality". The center was built using Shanghai municipal funding and is one of several key sub-projects within the Shanghai government's "Shanghai Information Port" project. The Shanghai Information Port project has been cited as the Shanghai government's No. 1 priority project. Its goal is to make Shanghai one of the most, if not the most, digitally enabled cities in the world through a combination of infrastructure improvements and favorable technology policies.
The SSC cost an estimated 100M RMB (~12M USD) to construct and currently it is receiving an annual budget of 10M RMB (~1.2M USD) from the Shanghai government for operating purposes. This does not seem like an adequate budget for this large facility, however, the facility itself does not have a very large staff. SSC is directed by Dr. Wenbiao FU along with two vice-directors Dr. Zili XI and Dr. Puyong WANG. Dr. Yadong GUI is the chief engineer. There are over 35 staff personnel at SSC. The main aim of the center is to offer computing services to the public. SSC has 12 technical support personnel who assist users with their application programs on the supercomputer. However, there is no real research department at the facility.
At the heart of the SSC is their supercomputer, Shenwei-I. The Shenwei-I is a scalable massively parallel system with a homogenous and distributed shareable memory and 2-D mesh network. Consisting of 384, 500MHz processors, 1.28 TB raid and 48 GB memory, the Shenwei-I has a peak performance of 384.00 GFlops and a sustained performance of 146.69 GFlops. The most unique thing about the SSC is that currently there is no fee for computer time on their supercomputer. At the request of the Shanghai municipal government computing services are to be free to accepted users of the facility from 2001-2003. After 2003 market value will be charged. The users of the SSC are selected by a review committee consisting of HPC experts and government representatives. Once the user has been selected SSC technicians will assist the user on-site with the implementation and optimization of their code. The committee is flexible in its determination of allowable projects however, it has stressed that their No. 1 priority is research leading to economic development. Their No. 2 priority is research purely for technological development or science. The most prevalent industry users of the machine are those involved in automobile manufacturing and shipbuilding. Additionally, there has been research performed in the areas of drug screening, bioinformatics, climate modeling, chemistry, and environmental studies. Currently, there are approximately 20 users of the SSC with only about 10% from industry and the remaining portion from scientific and /or academic institutions. SSC is in the process of establishing remote branches in the greater Shanghai area. Presently, there are branches at Jiaotong University and Fudan University.