Nov. 19, 2020 — Purdue’s newest community cluster, Bell, is number 431 on the Top500 list announced at SC20 this week. With a top processing speed of 1.624 petaflops, Bell is the ninth Purdue community cluster to make the list. Bell is also number 44 on the Green500 list of the world’s most energy-efficient supercomputers.
Named after Purdue nursing professor and minority advocate Clara Bell Sessions, Bell is optimized for traditional, tightly-coupled science and engineering applications. Bell consists of 448 Dell PowerEdge compute nodes featuring two 64-core AMD Epyc “Rome” processors with 256 GB of memory. The cluster also includes 8 large memory nodes, each with 1 TB of RAM — and a GPU subsystem with 16 AMD Instinct GPUs to accelerate workflows using AI and machine learning. The system will feature a 5 PB Lustre parallel filesystem, with its top performance 50% faster than the storage powering the Brown community cluster.
In June, Purdue was awarded $10 million from the National Science Foundation for Anvil, to be built in partnership with Dell and AMD and deployed next year. Offering a peak performance of 5.3 petaflops, the powerful supercomputer will increase the capacity available to the NSF’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which serves tens of thousands of researchers across the U.S.
“Purdue has a long history as a national leader in campus supercomputing, and this award reflects that track record,” said Theresa Mayer, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships, of the Anvil award.
Purdue Research Computing has been at the forefront of the efforts to teach data science and high-performance computing to students through student employment and bringing HPC into the classroom. The educational Scholar cluster was used by more than 4,000 students in 84 courses in fall 2019. Purdue has a long history with the SC Student Cluster Competition, having regularly fielded teams since 2007, including an all-women team in 2018.
In addition to the community clusters, Purdue Research Computing offers large-scale data storage services, provides advanced computational support to faculty and operates a multi-million dollar sponsored research portfolio in cyber infrastructure. Research Computing also operates the Envision Center, a data visualization lab that collaborates with internal and external clients on tools for research and educational use. Last year the center unveiled The Forge, a collaborative environment that allows multiple people to share the same virtual or augmented reality experience.
Purdue University is a national leader in campus cyberinfrastructure. Purdue’s community cluster program, which has included 19 major systems since its inception in 2004 and delivered more than 350 million computational hours to faculty partners last year, has become the reference model for campus computing nationwide. More than 200 faculty partners and their students from Purdue’s three campuses, all primary colleges and 60 departments, now use Purdue’s community clusters for research in the sciences, engineering and social sciences, and cluster users accounted for over half of the record $520 million awarded to Purdue researchers in 2019.
Source: Purdue University