Note: this page originates from the official DAS-4 page at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.


DAS-4 (The Distributed ASCI Supercomputer 4) is a six-cluster wide-area distributed system designed by the Advanced School for Computing and Imaging (ASCI). DAS-4 is funded by NWO/NCF (the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research), and the participating universities and organizations (see below). As one of its distinguishing features, DAS-4 employs a number of HPC Accelerators (e.g., currently various GPU types, FPGA's are also planned) and a novel internal wide-area interconnect based on light paths.

The goal of DAS-4 is to provide a common computational infrastructure for researchers within ASCI, who work on various aspects of parallel, distributed, grid and cloud computing, and large-scale multimedia content analysis. The following institutes and organisations are directly involved in the realization and running of DAS-4:


DAS-4 includes roughly 200 dual-quad-core compute nodes (primarily SuperMicro 2U-twins with Intel E5620 CPUs), spread out over six clusters, located at five sites. The system has been built by ClusterVision. Like its predecessor, DAS-3, DAS-4 is rather heterogeneous in design:

Cluster Nodes Type Speed Memory Storage Node HDDs Network Accelerators
VU 74 dual quad-core 2.4 GHz 24 GB 30 TB 2*1TB IB and GbE 16*GTX480 + 2*C2050
LU 16 dual quad-core 2.4 GHz 48 GB 50 TB 5*2TB + .5TB SSD IB and GbE future upgrade (FPGAs)
UvA 16 dual quad-core 2.4 GHz 24 GB 30 TB 1TB IB and GbE future upgrade
TUD 32 dual quad-core 2.4 GHz 24 GB 18 TB 2*1TB IB and GbE 8*GTX480
UvA-MN 36 dual quad-core 2.4 GHz 24 GB 30 TB 2*1TB IB and GbE 8*GTX480 + 7*C2050 + 2 x GTX480
ASTRON 24 dual quad-core 2.4 GHz 24 GB 24 TB 1*1TB IB and GbE 8*GTX580 + 1*C2050 + 1*HD6970


Besides using the ubiquitous Ethernet (1 Gbit/s at the compute nodes, 10 Gbit/s on the head nodes), DAS-4 also employs the high speed InfiniBand interconnect technology. Quad Data Rate (QDR) InfiniBand (IB) is used as an internal high-speed interconnect, but also to connect with the other DAS-4 clusters by means of routers that communicate over dedicated 10 Gbit/s Ethernet lightpaths. These lightpaths are implemented via a fully optical (DWDM) backbone in the Netherlands, SURFnet6. See also: DAS-4 Connectivity.

The operating system the DAS-4 runs is CentOS Linux. Cluster management is done using Bright cluster management suite. In addition, software from many sources is available to support research on DAS-4: the Grid Engine resource management system, various MPI implementations (e.g., OpenMPI and MPICH), optimizing compilers, visualization packages, performance analysis tools, etc.

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