Here is a collection of highlights from this week’s news stream as reported by HPCwire.
UT’s Kraken Supercomputer First Academic Computer to Break Petascale
Upgrades concluded this week at University of Tennessee paved the way for its supercomputer, Kraken, to become the world’s first academic supercomputer to reach the petascale mark – performing more than one thousand trillion operations per second. Kraken is only the fourth supercomputer of any kind to achieve this landmark feat.
“At over a petaflop of peak computing power, and the ability to routinely run full machine jobs, Kraken will dominate large-scale NSF computing in the near future,” said Phil Andrews, director of the National Institute for Computational Science, which manages Kraken. “Its unprecedented computational capability and total available memory will allow academic users to treat problems that were previously inaccessible.”
Beyond its computing power, Kraken, a Cray XT5 computer, also has a massive amount of memory to store the information used in scientists’ large-scale projects. With 129 terabytes of memory, Kraken can store the equivalent of more than 10 million phonebooks.
Kraken’s immense power allows researchers to simulate processess that lead to better understanding in fields such as health, medicine and alternative energy. Some 250 projects have been completed or are currently underway since the system’s launch.
Cyprus Institute and University of Illinois Ink Agreement
The Cyprus Institute and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have partnered for the development of the Computation-based Science and Technology Research Center (CaSToRC) of the Cyprus Institute.
CaSToRC is leveraging the University of Illinois world renowned NCSA’s (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) expertise in designing and operating supercomputing centers and installing, operating, and delivering groundbreaking science using high performance computing.
The agreement formalises the establishment of joint research and educational programs, the sharing of faculty and students, beginning with doctoral students conducting research at the University of Illinois and the Cyprus Institute.
CaSToRc is the first center of its kind in the Eastern Mediteranean area, where its resources will be used for research in areas such as climate modeling, high-energy and plasma physics, materials science, chemistry, 3D visualization, computational biology and financial and economic modeling. The center expects to have tens of teraflops of computing power at its disposal by 2013. CaSToRC was officially launched in February, and the Cyprus Institute and Forschungszentrum Jülich signed a similar agreement in April.