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Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare

Image:Public_INFN_logonew_cut.jpg The INFN - the National Institute of Nuclear Physics - is an organization dedicated to the study of the fundamental constituents of matter, and conducts theoretical and experimental research in the fields of subnuclear, nuclear, and astroparticle physics. Fundamental research in these areas requires the use of cutting-edge technologies and instrumentation, which the INFN develops both in its own laboratories and in collaboration with the world of industry. These activities are conducted in close collaboration with the academic world.

Inside the INFN, the APE (Array Processor Experiment) group has more than 20 years of experience in the design and development of High Performance Computing systems dedicated to Theoretical Physics, mainly High Energy Physics. The APE machines are massively parallel 3D arrays of custom computing nodes with periodic boundary conditions. Four generations of APE supercomputing engines have been characterized by impressive value of sustained performances, performance/volume, performance/power and performance/price ratios. The APE group made extensive use of VLSI design, designing VLIW processor architectures with native implementation of the complex type operator performing the AxB+C operation and large multi-port register files for high bandwidth with the arithmetic block. The interconnection system is optimized for low-latency, high bandwidth nearest-neighbours communication. The result is a dense system, based on a reliable and safe HW solution. It has been necessary to develop a custom mechanics for wide integration of cheap systems with very low cost of maintenance.

The APE family of supercomputers

APE APE100 APEmille APEnext
Year 1984-19881989-19931994-19992000-2005
Number of processors 16204820484096
Topology Flexible 1DNext Neighbour 3DFlexible 3DFlexible 3D
Total Memory 256 MB8 GB64 GB1 TB
Clock 8 MHz25 MHz66 MHz200 Mhz
Peak Processing Power 1 GFlops100 GFlops1 TFlops7 TFlops

The INFN Euretile Team


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