Terascale Cluster Supercomputer to be Built on Linux, Itanium 2s

Hewlett-Packard and Rice University’s Computer and Information Technology Institute today announced their plans to build Texas’ fastest academic supercomputer, based on HP’s Intel Itanium 2-based workstations and servers. The Rice Terascale Cluster is expected to be the first computer at a Texas university with a peak performance of 1 teraflop, or 1 trillion floating-point operations per second. More than 30 researchers from fields as diverse as biochemistry, political science, physics and computational engineering have already booked time on RTC.
From Rice University:
Rice University’s Terascale Cluster to be Built with HP’s Intel Itanium 2-based Systems Running Linux
Cluster Expected to Rank as Texas’ Fastest Academic Supercomputer

HP (NYSE:HPQ) and Rice University’s Computer and Information Technology Institute (CITI) today announced their plans to build Texas’ fastest academic supercomputer, the Rice Terascale Cluster (RTC). RTC, scheduled to come online early next year, is scheduled to be built on HP’s Intel? Itanium? 2-based workstations and servers.

RTC is expected to be the first computer at a Texas university with a peak performance of 1 teraflop, or 1 trillion floating-point operations per second. More than 30 researchers from fields as diverse as biochemistry, political science, physics and computational engineering have already booked time on RTC.

HP plans for the RTC to be composed of 132 HP Workstation zx6000s and four HP Server rx5670s. The systems, which should be interconnected via a high-speed, low-latency communications system, will utilize the 64-bit- Intel Itanium 2 processor and extend its capabilities with the performance and cost advantages of the HP Chipset zx1.

“Since RTC is a shared resource, it has to have the flexibility to meet a diverse set of high-performance computing needs — be they computationally demanding, data intensive or mathematically complex,” said Moshe Vardi, CITI Director. “HP’s innovative design gave us the features we need today — visualization capabilities, a large parallel file server and a shared front-end — and it should make it easy and inexpensive for us to expand RTC in the future.”

“Through this agreement, HP intends to provide Rice University’s CITI with the performance and flexibility needed to advance their research programs,” said Chris Christopher, Vice President and General Manager of HP’s Workstation Business Unit. “CITI’s decision to utilize HP’s Itanium 2-based systems running Linux is further proof of HP’s ability to provide cutting-edge technology infrastructure to high-education institutions.”

The supercomputer should utilize the Red Hat Linux Advanced Workstation and Server operating systems, Myricom Myrinet high-speed interconnect, NVidia graphics cards, Foundry switches and HP VA7400 and DS2405 storage solutions.

Almost a quarter of Rice’s faculty are members of CITI. The institute brings together researchers, both in and outside Rice, to develop new computing technologies that solve tangible problems in society. These problems are wide-ranging but have two things in common: they require experts from very different fields to work closely, and they are incredibly complex — both to study and to solve.

In addition to the broad range of interdisciplinary research to be conducted by CITI the RTC should also enable Rice University to continue its contributions of compiler technology and tools to the Linux Open Source community.

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