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As researchers continue to architect massive-scale systems, it is becoming clear that these systems will utilize a significant amount of shared hardware between processing units. Systems such as the IBM Blue Gene (BG) and Cray XT have started utilizing flat (i.e., scalable) networks, which differ from switched fabrics in that they use a 3D torus or similar topology. This allows the network to grow only linearly with system scale, instead of the super linear growth needed for full fat-tree switched topologies, but at the cost of increased network sharing between processing nodes.
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