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Topalov training with super computer Blue Gene P

8192 processors helping Topalov attack the next world chess title

Topalov

Veselin Topalov and Viswanathan Anand simultaneously revealed part of the preparation they were using for the World Chess Championship in Sofia. For the Chessbase blog Anand commented that he relied on his team from Bonn – Ganguly, Nielsen, Kasimdzhanov, and Wojtaszek (all photographed here in the press room), as well as help from Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, and Kasparov, as blitz and sparring partners. A team of top seconds, and even so Anand was firm that the team was heavily computer dependant and that “Nielsen’s desktop looks like pilot’s cockpit”.

Veselin Topalov revealed long before the match his core team – Cheparinov, L’Ami, Smeets, and Dufek. However, the bombastic news, which has only been rummored so far, came from an interview for Dnevnik.bg. Topalov confirmed that he has been using the Blue Gene /P supercomputer, with 8792 processors and working on 1 PFLOPS (petaFLOPS). Read on for the details exclusively by Chessdom.com.

Blue Gene /P

Blue Gene is a computer architecture project designed to produce several supercomputers, designed to reach operating speeds in the PFLOPS (petaFLOPS) range, and currently reaching sustained speeds of nearly 500 TFLOPS (teraFLOPS). It is a cooperative project among IBM (particularly IBM Rochester and the Thomas J. Watson Research Center), the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the United States Department of Energy (which is partially funding the project), and academia. There are four Blue Gene projects in development: Blue Gene/L, Blue Gene/C, Blue Gene/P, and Blue Gene/Q.

On June 26, 2007, IBM unveiled Blue Gene/P, the second generation of the Blue Gene supercomputer. Designed to run continuously at 1 PFLOPS (petaFLOPS), it can be configured to reach speeds in excess of 3 PFLOPS. Furthermore, it is at least seven times more energy efficient than any other supercomputer, accomplished by using many small, low-power chips connected through five specialized networks. Four 850 MHz PowerPC 450 processors are integrated on each Blue Gene/P chip. The 1-PFLOPS Blue Gene/P configuration is a 294,912-processor, 72-rack system harnessed to a high-speed, optical network. Blue Gene/P can be scaled to an 884,736-processor, 216-rack cluster to achieve 3-PFLOPS performance. A standard Blue Gene/P configuration will house 4,096 processors per rack.

Blue Gene/P has been installed on September 9, 2008 in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, and is operated by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Sofia University.

Topalov has used exactly this modification of Blue Gene /P during his match with Viswanathan Anand for the World Chess Championship. For local media Topalov comments, “During my preparation for the match, with Silvio Danailov we have decided to look for additional resources for my preparation against Anand. We decided to use the processing power of Blue Gene /P with 8192 processors.”

The only problem for Topalov was that there is no software that runs on such hardware. For Dnevnik Topalov revealed that he has collected a team of computer professionals to modify a program to work on the Blue Gene.

Topalov will use the computer for his future preparation for the Candidate matches 2010 / 2011. Until then it will help young local chess players, who will be playing games and analysing with the supercomputer. On June 10th Topalov will join them to help in a series of 10 blitz games against the machine.

Wch opening Group

Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boiko Borisov, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Veselin Topalov and Bulgaria Sports Minister Svilen Neikov
Topalov used Blue Gene /P with the permission of Boyko Borisov

Topalov confirms participation in the Chess Olympiad

In a series of interviews after the World Chess Championship, Veselin Topalov revealed step by step the competitions he will take part in during this year. Immediatelly after the match he confirmed he will attack the title again in 2010/2011 through the Candidate matches in Baku or Khanty Mansiysk (a division of the event is necessary by request of Aronian, more info later on Chessdom.com).

He will leading negotiations with the Bilbao Final Masters 2010 and its second part in Shanghai, China (10-16 October 2010), as well as the 3rd Nanjing Super Chess Tournament in 18-28 October 2010.

Another sure event for Topalov is the World Chess Olympiad 2010, where he will lead the Bulgarian team.

The future of the supercomputer, Blue Gene /Q

The last known supercomputer design in the Blue Gene series, Blue Gene/Q is aimed to reach 20 Petaflops in the 2011 time frame. It will continue to expand and enhance the Blue Gene/L and /P architectures with higher frequency at much improved performance per watt. Blue Gene/Q will have a similar number of nodes but many more cores per node. Exactly how many cores per chip the BG/Q will have is currently somewhat unclear, but 8 or even 16 is possible, with 1 GB of memory per core.

The archetypal Blue Gene/Q system called Sequoia will be installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2011 as a part of the Advanced Simulation and Computing Program running nuclear simulations and advanced scientific research. It will consist of 98,304 compute nodes comprising 1.6 million processor cores and 1.6 PB memory in 96 racks covering an area of about 3000 square feet, drawing 6 megawatts of power.

A Blue Gene/Q system called Mira will be installed at Argonne National Laboratory early in 2012. It will consist of approximately 50,000 compute nodes (16 cores per node), 70 PB of disk (470 GB/s I/O bandwidth) and will be water-cooled.

The Blue Gene /Q will be ready before the World ChessChampionship 2012 and the Chess Olympiad 2012. The question now is, who will be the first chess players to get access to using the full power of the machine?

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