ARCTIC REGION SUPERCOMPUTING CENTER INSTALLS CRAY T3E

March 7, 1997

  Fairbanks, Alaska -- The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center (ARSC) at the
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) installed a new computing system on
February 26, 1997. According to ARSC Director, Frank Williams, "The CRAY T3E
enables ARSC to provide scientists and engineers with more powerful computing
resources. Some of the world's foremost faculty and students are discovering
new arctic region knowledge in geophysics, marine sciences, natural sciences,
and engineering using ARSC facilities."

  The new system is a massively parallel processing (MPP) computer from Cray
Research, the CRAY T3E. The system consists of 88 processors, each with 128
Mbytes of memory, or double the per-processor memory of the older CRAY T3D.
Improved architecture of the T3E makes it three-to-four times faster than
the T3D. The center's operation of the CRAY T3D will be phased out over the
next few months.

  The new CRAY T3E, named Yukon after Alaska's largest river, will support
the research and development efforts of scientists from the academic
community, federal research agencies, the state of Alaska, private enterprise
and the Department of Defense. Over the next month, researchers from sciences
such as geophysics and astrophysics will move their computing activities over
to the new T3E system. For example, the increased memory and speed permit
enhanced modeling of the polar oceans and ice cover to include input from the
various continental rivers. Currently, scientists are unable to follow the
flow from each river once it enters the ocean. Greater computing capabilities
will allow 'tracing' of each river's flow after entering the ocean providing
increased information on the contribution of each river and the possible
environmental impacts.

  Another T3E-related project teams ARSC with the UAF Geophysical Institute,
the Alaska Volcano Observatory, and the State of Alaska Seismology Office
to develop a parallel version of a 3D seismic modeling code. Information
gathered from existing seismic surveys and naturally occurring events are
used to construct a high-resolution numerical model of the geological
structure of the mountain range and surrounding areas. This model will
predict the results of possible earthquake events throughout Alaska, the
company says. The CRAY T3E combined with ARSC's sophisticated Silicon
Graphics visualization resources make ARSC an important asset to scientists
seeking to perform such high-end, detailed simulations.

  ARSC continues to operate an eight-processor CRAY Y-MP large memory vector
supercomputer with 8GB (1 GigaWord) of globally addressable memory. This
machine, named Denali, has been in operation since January 1993, and serves
the same user community as the CRAY T3E. The CRAY Y-MP remains a workhorse
for scientists and engineers. In addition, connected to these CRAY
supercomputers, via local ethernet, FDDI, and HiPPI networks, will be a new
Silicon Graphics (SGI) Onyx-2 Infinite Reality visualization supercomputer,
an SGI Onyx XL and more than 40 additional SGI workstations located in ARSC
labs across the UAF campus.

  The three visualization labs, the ARSC Video Production Lab and the ARSC
Training Lab are undergoing hardware improvements in 1997 to keep pace with
user needs and advanced technology. An integrated digital video/audio
recording studio will be built around the SGI Onyx-2's high-end video output,
upgrading essential multimedia capabilities of ARSC.

  The mission of the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center is to support
research in science and engineering -- with emphasis on the high latitudes
and the Arctic -- using high performance computing.


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