100% Russian computer revives

June 30, 2008, Mon 11:06 AM  Business  Integration

100 new Russian Elbrus-3M computers based on the same-name processors will be delivered to its customers later in the year. Elbrus computers will be used in anti-missile and air defense, as well as in cryptographic calculations for secret services.

This year will see the batch production of the Russian supercomputer based on the Elbrus-3M servers, Director General of the MCST company which has been developing the Elbrus line, Alexander Kim told CNews. 100 such computers will be delivered to customers by late 2008.

Elbrus-3M is managed by Linux MCBC (mobile system for armed forces). It is made of two Elbrus superscalar processors capable of processing more than one instruction at a time. The servers peak performance is 9,6Gigaflops (9,6x109 floating-point operations per second). Alexander Kim said computer systems with the productivity of 0,6Tflops will be created based on such servers. They might be considered as entry-level supercomputers.

The history of the Russian Elbrus line computers started back in 1970s at the Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering when the Elbrus-1 ensemble machine with the productivity of 15m operations per second was created.

Elbrus-2 appeared in mid-80s and was 10 times more powerful than its predecessor. The first Soviet supercomputers were mainly used in anti-missile defense systems and in nuclear missile plants. One of the lead developers, Boris Babayan told CNews there were 200 Elbrus-2 computers with different numbers of processors produced.

Dual-processor Elbrus-3M server. It will be used in cryptographic calculations, anti-missile and air defense fields
Dual-processor Elbrus-3M server. It will be used in cryptographic calculations, anti-missile and air defense fields

The production of Elbrus-3 was supervised by Babayan and it was meant to become one of the first computers with superscalar architecture in the world. However the project was scrapped in early 90s due to the lack of finance. Later the idea of Elbrus-3 was used during Elbrus 2000 and Elbrus-3M engineering in the Moscow SPARC-technologies Center, known as MCST. Boris Babayan who is now Intels honored research and development engineer of the Software and Solutions Group division, is still supervising the project.

Alexander Kim said the Elbrus-3M processor is an entirely Russian development. It is based on a a 130-nm layout and has 75,8m transistors on 189 mm2. MSCT didnt say who exactly produced the processors. There is currently no equipment in Russia for making 130-nm micro schemes, the first line of it will be launched in late 2009.

Kim said the processors main advantages are its compatibility with the x86 architecture, its superscalarity (it allows processing up to 23 instruction at a time) and the extremely low power demand of 0,4 Watt/Gigaflops. The engineers say when processing real instructions Elbrus proves a productivity level close to peak performance. During matrix multiplication Elbrus-3M demonstrates 4,7 Gigaflops 98% of the 4,8 peak performance.

MCST intends to develop the Elbrus line following Moores law by doubling the number of crystals transistors every two years. Alexander Kim told CNews MCST is planning the production of Elbrus-1C with the productivity of 8Gigaflops which will be based on the 90-nm technology in 2009; 2012 will see the 64 gigaflops Elbrus-4C based on the 65-nm technology, and in 2018 it will create the 1Tflops Elbrus-16C based on the 32-nm technology.

Interestingly, MCST do not want to say who the customers are to receive the first 100 computers based on Elbrus-3M processors, but noted that they will be used in anti-missile and air defense, as well as in cryptographic calculations for secret services.

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