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Graphic-Card Cluster for Astrophysics (GraCCA) – Performance Tests

Hsi-Yu Schive, Chia-Hung Chien, Shing-Kwong Wong, Yu-Chih Tsai, Tzihong Chiueh
Department of Physics, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
New Astronomy, Volume 13, Issue 6, p. 418-435, arXiv:0707.2991v2 [astro-ph] (20 Jan 2008)

@article{schive2008graphic,

   title={Graphic-card cluster for astrophysics (GraCCA)-performance tests},

   author={Schive, H.Y. and Chien, C.H. and Wong, S.K. and Tsai, Y.C. and Chiueh, T.},

   journal={New Astronomy},

   volume={13},

   number={6},

   pages={418–435},

   issn={1384-1076},

   year={2008},

   publisher={Elsevier}

}

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In this paper, we describe the architecture and performance of the GraCCA system, a Graphic-Card Cluster for Astrophysics simulations. It consists of 16 nodes, with each node equipped with 2 modern graphic cards, the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX. This computing cluster provides a theoretical performance of 16.2 TFLOPS. To demonstrate its performance in astrophysics computation, we have implemented a parallel direct N-body simulation program with shared time-step algorithm in this system. Our system achieves a measured performance of 7.1 TFLOPS and a parallel efficiency of 90% for simulating a globular cluster of 1024K particles. In comparing with the GRAPE-6A cluster at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), the GraCCA system achieves a more than twice higher measured speed and an even higher performance-per-dollar ratio. Moreover, our system can handle up to 320M particles and can serve as a general-purpose computing cluster for a wide range of astrophysics problems.
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