CPlant - FY 97 Platform

Cplant 97 prototype

During 1997, Sandia constructed a prototype Computational Plant. The prototype consisted of 8 scalable units that were integrated by Sandia. The following provides a description of all of the hardware components of this platform.

Hardware Components


The compute partition is composed of 128 Digital Personal Workstation 433as, each of which contains:

High-Speed Network

The 128 compute node machines are connected with Myricom's Myrinet gigabit networking hardware. Each node contains a SAN PCI card connected to a dual 8-port SAN switch.

The switches are connected to logically form a 2x2x2 mesh by using three ports on each switch. Two ports are used to connect two nodes to each switch. Two ports are "exported" as external connections. The final port is currently used to "short-cut" some diagonals of the internal cube.

Secondary Storage

The I/O partition is composed of 6 of the 128 compute nodes, each of which has a 9.1 GB UltraSCSI RAID.

System Diagnostic and Support

The system support network is composed of 8 Digital Personal Workstation 500as, which are identical to the nodes in the compute partition. In addition, the top-level system support station is a Pentium-based Gateway PC with a keboard, mouse, and monitor.

Each system support station contains two 8-port Cyclades serial cards for console access to each node in the scalable unit.

There are 16 serially-controlled EEC power distribution units that provide remote power control capability to each scalable unit through the controlling system support station.

The system support network is provided by a 100 BaseT CAT switch.


The machine is composed of 20 cabinets. Each compute node cabinet contains 8 compute nodes. Each system support cabinet contains 2 system support nodes.

User Support

The compile partition is composed of 1 Digital Personal Workstation 500as, which contains:

This Digital UNIX machine is the compile server for building the executables that run on the cluster.