COSMOS Hardware

COSMOS Supercomputer (Mark VIII, installed August 2010)


COSMOS Mark VIII - is a hybrid system, comprised of the two compute systems, linked to the common, high performance storage system. The compute systems are: The previous Cosmos system - SGI Altix 4700 (see below for details) and the new one - SGI Altix UV1000.

SGI Altix UV1000

This new machine from SGI comes in several modifications (see Altix UV). Ours - is built around Intel NehalemEX 2.67GHz CPUs and contains 768 cores and 2TB of global shared memory. Each CPU has six cores and forms a virtual node, with two nodes per blade. The machine is configured as a single system image(SSI), running Novell Linux SLES11 SP1 and SGI's ProPack7 SP1, and supports equally well both shared and distributed memory algorithms (OpenMP, MPI,GlobalArrays, PGAS - UPC, CAF).

SGI Altix 4700 (former Cosmos Mark VII)

COSMOS Mark VII is an SGI Altix 4700 with 152 Itanium2 1.6GHz cores and 456 GB of global shared memory. Each CPU has 18 Mb of L3 cache and delivers a peak performance of 12.8 Gflops.

The machine is configured as a single system image running Linux (SuSE SLES10), and supports both shared and distributed memory algorithms.

HPC Storage System (ISS4100/XE270)

COSMOS now has 64 TB of high performance storage, configured in a hierarchy of RAID systems. The SGI XE270 Server works as a frontend for the IS4100 InfiniteStorage, which contains both high capacity SATA RAIDs and high bandwidth SAS RAIDs. Data is served to both compute systems via enhanced NFS over Infiniband. This is supplemented with the 6TB backup on a IS220 RAID connected via fibre channel. All storage systems are UPS protected.


COSMOGRID is a 4 CPU SGI Prism visualization server with 6 GB of RAM and dual ATI graphics cards.

COSMOS upgrade history

Demand for high quality computational resources in cosmology has meant that the COSMOS supercomputer has undergone no fewer than seven embodiments since 1997:

COSMOS VIII 2010 SGI Altix UV1000 - 768 cores (+retaining Altix 4700)
COSMOS VII 2007 SGI Altix 4700 - 152 cores
COSMOS VI 2004 SGI Altix 3700 - 152 cpus (upgrade)
COSMOS V 2003 SGI Altix 3700 - 128 cpus
COSMOS IV 2002 SGI Origin 3800 - 64 cpus
COSMOS III 1999 SGI Origin 2000 - 64 cpu
COSMOS II 1998 SGI Origin 2000 - 44 cpu upgrade + Onyx2
COSMOS I 1997 SGI Origin 2000 - 32 cpus

The key shared-memory platforms in the COSMOS upgrade pathway are illustrated below.

COSMOS I - SGI Origin 2000

COSMOS IV - SGI Origin 3800

COSMOS V - SGI Altix 3700

Earlier COSMOS web pages

Back in 1997, COSMOS was the world's first national cosmology supercomputer. Its launch was attended by very considerable media attention with prime-time news items on the BBC and CNN, amongst other broadcasters, and many articles in prominent newspapers. The interested reader can view earlier web pages about these events:

Original COSMOS public tour web pages

Press releases and media coverage from the COSMOS launch