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October 29, 2009
BATON ROUGE, La., Oct. 29 -- The LSU Center for Computation & Technology, or CCT, is preparing a new high-performance computing cluster, Arete, which will be used exclusively for education, including classroom instruction, distance learning and undergraduate or graduate student projects.
While LSU has other high-performance computing resources on campus, including the recently announced Phillip system, available for faculty and students to conduct research, Arete is the most powerful cluster dedicated exclusively to student educational needs.
Arete was named for the Greek quality of excellence in fulfilling one's full potential and purpose.
Arete is housed with the University's other high-performance computing clusters in the Fred C. Frey Computing Services Center. CCT staff have installed and tested Arete to ensure the cluster is operational, and it will be available for campus-wide use beginning in the Spring 2010 semester.
CCT purchased Arete as a resource for LSU departments to support courses at all levels. The first course to use Arete will be CSC 7600 "High Performance Computing: Models, Methods and Means," which Department of Computer Science Professor Thomas Sterling will teach this spring.
Sterling, who also is a faculty member with the CCT and an adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, teaches the course from LSU and broadcasts it in real-time to partner sites around the world using high-definition video streamed across high-speed networks. Sterling has taught the course since 2007. It is offered to both graduate and senior level undergraduate students from a variety of departments and disciplines.
"The course provides students with a basic overview of how high-performance computing works, and we wanted make this instruction applicable by giving them a resource to learn programming, develop basic applications and get hands-on experience operating a supercomputing cluster," Sterling said.
Arete is a 72-node cluster with a peak performance of 5.3 teraflops, with high-speed networking connections and 24 terabytes of shared storage space. This cluster is comparable in size and speed to the University's other high-performance computing resources.
Although Arete is intended for Sterling's course, students in other disciplines or courses can use the cluster to get practice operating computational resources. Students at the other institutions participating in Sterling's course, including LSU-Shreveport and University of New Orleans, can access Arete remotely to work hands-on at high-performance computing exercises and experiments.
"Faculty and research staff are the primary users for LSU's existing supercomputing systems, and we realized it is important, as part of our academic mission, to also provide students with opportunities to use these machines," said CCT Interim Director Stephen David Beck. "With Arete, we are happy to provide a resource for the whole campus so students can take the skills they learn in the classroom and put them into practice, giving them a much deeper appreciation of how this technology is advancing research in many disciplines."
Source: LSU Center for Computation & Technology
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