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case study
Intel® Itanium® Processor powers Mazda, Inc. digital design effort
authored by NEC
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The Mazda Corporation ( manufactures automobiles and trucks, and has over 120 billion yen of capital (March 31, 2001); employs 20,705 workers (Financial year 2001), and has annual sales of 20.2 trillion yen (Financial year 2000). A partnership with Ford has allowed expansion into a wider business area as well.

Through the process of digitization, Mazda Corporation will be able to create all designs, implement comfort and strength analyses, and test finished automobiles digitally within a few years. The ultimate goal is to combine all CAD technology needed for design and testing with CAE technology for strength and comfort into a single simulation. Plans are currently underway to choose the necessary analysis applications and suitable calculation platform.

Key Challenges and Issues in the Current Computing Environment
MSC.NASTRAN* operates on the UNIX* scalar server as one part of the CAE environment for automobile strength analysis. In order to create accurate analyses of the increasingly important issue of comfort demanded by the user, a large amount of computing power and storage is needed. It is therefore essential that the platform used for such calculations have a high performance to price ratio, be able to perform quick calculations, and have a high speed I/O capacity to storage. This performance is possible with the processing power of the scalar Intel® Itanium® processor, and an immense 64-bit physical memory address space. With an excellent price to performance ratio, the Itanium platform performs calculations requiring excessive space to respond to current challenges.

Intel® Itanium® System Results
Computation times for running performance vibration analysis in the above-mentioned MSC.NASTRAN were analyzed. The current Origin platform (250 MHz) took 6,120 seconds to perform the required computations while the same tasks were completed in 1,510 seconds by the Itanium server based on NEC* Express 5800/1040 Xa. This was a five-fold increase in performance. The high-performance floating-point arithmetic ability of Itanium and its immense 64-bit physical memory space address allows large amounts of data to be manipulated at one time. This is made possible by the high speed input/output of the Express 5800/1160Xa. This power enables creation of large scale, extremely precise simulation models that were not previously possible.

Comments and Plan Overview
Implementing the Itanium system will make it possible to support larger analysis models and complete tasks in a shorter period of time. It will also reduce the costs of CAE analysis, and allow a higher number of problems to be solved. However, the characteristics of the MSC.NASTRAN software (lack of variable parallelism and low parallelism) show that improvements are needed. Improvements to the Linux* applications can be expected from the MSC software company. In addition, the next-generation Itanium processor family will also be evaluated and its performance capabilities measured.

System Overview


NEC* Express5800/1160Xa based on Intel® Itanium® Processor (800MHz/4MB) with 32GB Memory and 288GB of Disk space.

Operating System:

Linux (Red Hat Distribution)


MSC.Nastran* V2001(official version)

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