Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sandia, Compaq Smash World Record In Large Database Sorting

Date:
November 12, 1998
Source:
Sandia National Laboratories
Summary:
The Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories has teamed with Compaq Computer Corporation, the largest global supplier of personal computers, to sort information three times faster than the previous record, at approximately two-thirds the installed cost of current techniques.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Just as scientists need very fast number-crunching computers to replace physical testing with computer models, business people need a corollary procedure: very fast data sorting - the ability to manipulate huge amounts of data rapidly.

Faster, cheaper sorting could make it possible to mine huge amounts of data to identify patterns of medical fraud among millions of transactions, or better locate threats to the vast on-line banking or communications networks.

Now the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories has teamed with Compaq Computer Corporation, the largest global supplier of personal computers, to sort information three times faster than the previous record, at approximately two-thirds the installed cost of current techniques.

"For big-data problems, this is the fastest sorting machine known to man," said Sandia computer researcher Carl Diegert of the Sandia-located computer. "The technology to do this came from Compaq. The will and the vision came from Sandia."

The Sandia cluster of computers now has sorted a terabyte of data -- about the information contained in a million unabridged dictionaries -- in under 50 minutes. The previous record, on a shared-memory supercomputer rather than a cluster of industry-standard computers, was 2.5 hours.

"Our joint work on the 144-processor system was driven by Sandia's need to process and visualize simulation data from other large, massively parallel computers, while Compaq's interest was the commercially important sorting application," said George Davidson, Sandia project manager.

The importance of sorting, already high, should increase as large-scale data storage (called warehousing) increases. Estimates suggest that in three years, warehouses will increase from a 272-gigabyte average to a predicted 6.5 terabytes, and from a $15 billion to $113 billion market by 2002, according to a marketing report from a consulting firm, the Palo Alto Management Group.

Said John Rose, Compaq Senior Vice President and General Manager, "Compaq, along with key partners like Sandia, is demonstrating that clustered Windows NT systems can deliver the performance, reliability and cost-effectiveness required by high-end applications in technical and commercial markets. This particular demonstration is striking evidence of how far and how fast we've progressed." According to Amy Behle, business development manager of the U.S. database market for MUSE Technologies, a small Albuquerque-based company, "Database companies will be interested because sorting is absolutely fundamental to database queries. For decision support, running more queries in the same amount of time or getting results faster yields real business value."

"Our system is a cluster of 72 off-the-shelf dual Pentium II Proliant servers running Windows NT and linked by ServerNet," says Diegert. "We call it Kudzu because of its propensity (like the plant) to grow in any direction." The current arrangement, he says, for Sandia is a prototype used to verify the correct operation of a larger platform by setting up, completing, and verifying a terabyte sort.

"Unique to Kudzu," he says, "is its high-performance communications architecture. This, based today on Compaq's first-generation ServerNet hardware, allows Kudzu's 72 component computers to work as one and is, we believe, the world's largest of its kind. As costs drop over time, such arrangements will become commonplace in commercial and scientific operations."

Diegert believes it was Sandia's drive for faster, cheaper, scalable machines that "pushed vendors to achieve this goal sooner than otherwise."

For Sandia, "The overall purpose of this particular cluster is to develop faster, better ways of visualizing the results of complex simulations," not just sorting, says Sandia physicist Milt Clauser. "Visualization of terabyte data sets is crucial to our understanding of large, complex simulations, and the terabyte sort is an important first step towards our goal of developing the next generation of visualization computers."

The program is part of a DOE long-range plan to revolutionize computing and information technology at the Labs, and was the result of a two-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between Sandia and Compaq. The core of the mission was to develop powerful distributed computing, data manipulation and visualization technologies.

For the non-military customer, the project's goal was to develop a technology that would reduce complexity, increase flexibility, and improve service, all at large cost savings. Potential markets for cluster-based technologies would benefit from Compaq's leadership in the computer industry and Sandia's decades-long leadership in parallel computing, including its development with Intel of the world's first teraflop computer, says Davidson. To these ends, each partner funded their CRADA research with matching investments of $400,000 annually. All components of the cluster are currently available on the commercial market.

"The clustering architecture that scaled to this unprecedented sort performance uses the same key to scalability that Sandia pioneered in 1987 and which evolved to become the planet's first teraflops machine with over 9,000 processors, put into operation by Sandia in 1996," says Diegert. "The implications for commercial markets are significant, in that it demonstrates that large clusters that share a system network rather than a common memory have the power and sophistication to handle the big jobs at much lower costs."

Sandia is a multiprogram DOE laboratory, operated by a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy, and environmental technologies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sandia National Laboratories. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Sandia National Laboratories. "Sandia, Compaq Smash World Record In Large Database Sorting." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981112080121.htm>.
Sandia National Laboratories. (1998, November 12). Sandia, Compaq Smash World Record In Large Database Sorting. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981112080121.htm
Sandia National Laboratories. "Sandia, Compaq Smash World Record In Large Database Sorting." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981112080121.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Enters Mobile Payment Business

Apple Enters Mobile Payment Business

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Apple is making a strategic bet with the launch of Apple Pay, the mobile pay service aimed at turning your iPhone into your wallet. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Protect Against Piracy ... At A Cost

Google To Protect Against Piracy ... At A Cost

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Google is changing its search-engine results to protect content producers from piracy — for a price. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins