TACC, Lamont Observatory Host One of the Largest Earth Sciences Data Collections in the Country

March 7, 2018

March 7, 2018 — The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin is partnering with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) at Columbia University to host one of the largest data collections for Earth sciences of its type in the country. The data relates to the Ross Ice Shelf, a massive slab of floating ice that is about the same size as the country of France.

Over the past four years, researchers at LDEO have been flying over the frozen waters in the polar regions and collecting field data for the ROSETTA-Ice project, which studies the Ross Ice Shelf. The shelf is constantly fed by a flow of ice from glaciers draining from both the East and West Antarctic ice sheets. The field data includes crucial information on the shelf and the underlying tectonics of the Antarctic region.

Ice shelves, like icebergs, lie mainly below the waterline. This means that the majority of the shelf is not visible without the use of scientific instruments. Studying how the ice, ocean and underlying seabed interact will inform scientists of potential change in the ice shelf from projected climate change.

“The Ross Ice Shelf is of interest because it’s floating, allowing ocean water to move freely about beneath it and we have seen in other regions like this that they can become unstable and break up releasing ice from glaciers dammed up behind them into the ocean,” said Nick Frearson, a lead engineer on the ROSETTA-Ice project whose team designed the Icepod, the data collection system and sensor suite and the radar technology that probes the ice shelf.

“Warming ocean water is getting underneath the shelf that is a significant couple of degrees warmer than the surrounding water and can mean the difference between freezing and melting at the base of the ice,” he said. “The shelf acts like a large cork impeding the flow of incident glaciers and ice streams, and could have far-reaching effects if it changes significantly and releases more ice to flow from the land into the sea raising sea-levels globally in the process.”

Frearson says that the data being collected using scientific instruments — hundreds of terabytes in total— is unique. “We take data from a suite of instruments, all sampled synchronously, and bring them together to form a much bigger picture than if we just analyzed data from one instrument,” he said.

Up until now the sea floor under the shelf has only been mapped to a resolution of 50km using a combination of satellite gravity data and a land survey undertaken in the 1970’s. This is low enough to hide whole mountain and valley systems and was not detailed enough for oceanographers to accurately model ocean currents flowing under the shelf. With state-of-the-art radar; gravimeters, which measure gravity anomalies; a magnetometer that measures Earth’s magnetic anomalies; LIDAR, remote sensing of the surface with laser pulses; and high-resolution photogrammetry to map surface structures; ROSETTA has been able to map the interior and ocean floor of the shelf to much higher resolution.

“In the process, we have collected many 100’s of TB’s of data and needed a state-of-the-art solution to manage it. That’s where TACC comes in,” Frearson said.

To collect, process, analyze and store the data, Frearson and other colleagues at LDEO have been using the National Science Foundation-funded Extreme Science and Engineering Development Environment (XSEDE) allocations on resources such as Stampede2 and Ranch. Researchers also heavily relied on TACC’s Corral even though it is not an XSEDE resource. XSEDE is a single virtual system that scientists use to interactively share computing resources, data, and expertise.

Stampede2 is used for data processing; Corral for data storage; and Ranch tape storage for the long-term archiving of data.

“The speed of XSEDE and TACC resources is superior to our existing high-performance computers at Lamont,” said Lingling Dong, a computer software, and data engineer. “I have data from 2015 that processed in 50 hours using Lamont resources; however, it only needed three hours of processing time using XSEDE resources and a total of two hours for data-transfer across the network.”

When it comes to storage, LDEO had been storing the data locally. “But because of the size of it now, we couldn’t even back it all up,” Frearson said. “We had the original raw data that we brought back from the field as a backup but that was it. It’s a lot more data than we had previously been used to handling.”

Corral is the storage system of choice for the Polar Geophysics Group at LDEO and leads the way in the preservation and sharing of data for researchers. Corral enables data-centric science throughout the U.S. This storage and data management resource is designed and optimized to support large-scale collections and a collaborative research environment.

“It’s admirable that LDEO has planned for how much data they are going to generate and want to make sure that it’s available over a period of several years,” said Chris Jordan, manager of TACC’s Data Management and Collections group. “From the start, they wanted a way to both store hundreds of terabytes of data and to make it widely available on the web as it’s uploaded.”

In addition, LDEO is using some of the academic referencing mechanisms that make it easier to search for and locate data sets, similar to the way it is done with academic literature. “They chose to use DOI indexing on all of their data as they upload it so that people can find it more easily,” Jordan said. “The National Science Foundation promotes the citation of data sets in addition to the citation for publications.”

“We aren’t the only Science group having to cope with very large volumes of data and hope that the partnership that we have forged with TACC shows that it is possible to manage and disseminate this level of data in a cost-effective, user-friendly and easily accessible manner,” Frearson said. “This data will help people in the science community who are interested in the cryosphere, the Polar Regions in general, and the changes that are going on there. We hope that people across the globe, as well as institutions in the U.S., will benefit from this data set.”


Source: Faith Singer-Villalobos, TACC

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Is Data Science the Fourth Pillar of the Scientific Method?

April 18, 2019

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang revived a decade-old debate last month when he said that modern data science (AI plus HPC) has become the fourth pillar of the scientific method. While some disagree with the notion that statistic Read more…

By Alex Woodie

At ASF 2019: The Virtuous Circle of Big Data, AI and HPC

April 18, 2019

We've entered a new phase in IT -- in the world, really -- where the combination of big data, artificial intelligence, and high performance computing is pushing the bounds of what's possible in business and science, in w Read more…

By Alex Woodie with Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

Google Open Sources TensorFlow Version of MorphNet DL Tool

April 18, 2019

Designing optimum deep neural networks remains a non-trivial exercise. “Given the large search space of possible architectures, designing a network from scratch for your specific application can be prohibitively expens Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture: How to Power a Cloud

Learn how HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture provide critical infrastructure for leading Nordic HPC provider’s HPCFLOW cloud service.

powercloud_blog.jpgFor decades, HPE has been at the forefront of high-performance computing, and we’ve powered some of the fastest and most robust supercomputers in the world. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Bridging HPC and Cloud Native Development with Kubernetes

The HPC community has historically developed its own specialized software stack including schedulers, filesystems, developer tools, container technologies tuned for performance and large-scale on-premises deployments. Read more…

Interview with 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer

April 18, 2019

Today, as part of our ongoing HPCwire People to Watch focus series, we are highlighting our interview with 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer. Michela -- the General Chair of SC19 -- is an ACM Distinguished Scientist. Read more…

By HPCwire Editorial Team

At ASF 2019: The Virtuous Circle of Big Data, AI and HPC

April 18, 2019

We've entered a new phase in IT -- in the world, really -- where the combination of big data, artificial intelligence, and high performance computing is pushing Read more…

By Alex Woodie with Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

Interview with 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer

April 18, 2019

Today, as part of our ongoing HPCwire People to Watch focus series, we are highlighting our interview with 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer. Michela -- the Read more…

By HPCwire Editorial Team

Intel Gold U-Series SKUs Reveal Single Socket Intentions

April 18, 2019

Intel plans to jump into the single socket market with a portion of its just announced Cascade Lake microprocessor line according to one media report. This isn Read more…

By John Russell

BSC Researchers Shrink Floating Point Formats to Accelerate Deep Neural Network Training

April 15, 2019

Sometimes calculating solutions as precisely as a computer can wastes more CPU resources than is necessary. A case in point is with deep learning. In early stag Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

Intel Extends FPGA Ecosystem with 10nm Agilex

April 11, 2019

The insatiable appetite for higher throughput and lower latency – particularly where edge analytics and AI, network functions, or for a range of datacenter ac Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Doubles Down on Medical AI

April 9, 2019

Nvidia is collaborating with medical groups to push GPU-powered AI tools into clinical settings, including radiology and drug discovery. The GPU leader said Monday it will collaborate with the American College of Radiology (ACR) to provide clinicians with its Clara AI tool kit. The partnership would allow radiologists to leverage AI techniques for diagnostic imaging using their own clinical data. Read more…

By George Leopold

Digging into MLPerf Benchmark Suite to Inform AI Infrastructure Decisions

April 9, 2019

With machine learning and deep learning storming into the datacenter, the new challenge is optimizing infrastructure choices to support diverse ML and DL workfl Read more…

By John Russell

AI and Enterprise Datacenters Boost HPC Server Revenues Past Expectations – Hyperion

April 9, 2019

Building on the big year of 2017 and spurred in part by the convergence of AI and HPC, global revenue for high performance servers jumped 15.6 percent last year Read more…

By Doug Black

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

Why Nvidia Bought Mellanox: ‘Future Datacenters Will Be…Like High Performance Computers’

March 14, 2019

“Future datacenters of all kinds will be built like high performance computers,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a phone briefing on Monday after Nvidia revealed scooping up the high performance networking company Mellanox for $6.9 billion. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Reportedly in $6B Bid for Mellanox

January 30, 2019

The latest rumors and reports around an acquisition of Mellanox focus on Intel, which has reportedly offered a $6 billion bid for the high performance interconn Read more…

By Doug Black

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First US Exascale Computer in 2021

March 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy along with Intel and Cray confirmed today that an Intel/Cray supercomputer, "Aurora," capable of sustained performance of one exaf Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

January 28, 2019

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

Deep500: ETH Researchers Introduce New Deep Learning Benchmark for HPC

February 5, 2019

ETH researchers have developed a new deep learning benchmarking environment – Deep500 – they say is “the first distributed and reproducible benchmarking s Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized si Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

France to Deploy AI-Focused Supercomputer: Jean Zay

January 22, 2019

HPE announced today that it won the contract to build a supercomputer that will drive France’s AI and HPC efforts. The computer will be part of GENCI, the Fre Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Oil and Gas Supercloud Clears Out Remaining Knights Landing Inventory: All 38,000 Wafers

March 13, 2019

The McCloud HPC service being built by Australia’s DownUnder GeoSolutions (DUG) outside Houston is set to become the largest oil and gas cloud in the world th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Extends FPGA Ecosystem with 10nm Agilex

April 11, 2019

The insatiable appetite for higher throughput and lower latency – particularly where edge analytics and AI, network functions, or for a range of datacenter ac Read more…

By Doug Black

UC Berkeley Paper Heralds Rise of Serverless Computing in the Cloud – Do You Agree?

February 13, 2019

Almost exactly ten years to the day from publishing of their widely-read, seminal paper on cloud computing, UC Berkeley researchers have issued another ambitious examination of cloud computing - Cloud Programming Simplified: A Berkeley View on Serverless Computing. The new work heralds the rise of ‘serverless computing’ as the next dominant phase of cloud computing. Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This