Designing a Scalable Parallel System: The IBM SP2

Tilak Agerwala, Jamshed H. Mirza, Marc Snir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This chapter discusses that the IBM SP2 is a general purpose scalable parallel system designed to address a variety of application areas and customer environments. Generally available SP2 systems range from 2 to 128 nodes, although much larger systems, up to 512 nodes have been delivered and are successfully being used today. The nodes are the latest POWER2 technology RS/6000 processors, interconnected with a high performance multi-stage packet-switched network for inter-processor communication. Standard AIX operating system is complemented with a set of software products for system management, job management, and application development and execution in the parallel environment. The system is designed for flexibility and availability, and addresses a wide range of application areas in the high-end UNIX technical and commercial computing area. The chapter discusses the underlying philosophy that guided the design of the SP2 system and then gives an overview of the architecture and structure of the system and some of the primary system components, including wherever relevant the rationale for significant system design decisions. There is also some discussion about the system performance and future system challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-156
Number of pages24
JournalAdvances in Parallel Computing
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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