Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Purdue, IU create new ’tera-scale’ supercomputer grid

12.06.2002


IBM supercomputers connected via high-speed, optical-fiber network



WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University and Indiana University have succeeded in linking their IBM supercomputers in a computational grid via the universities’ high-speed optical network, creating a facility capable of performing a trillion operations per second.

The process works by breaking complex programs into small segments, which are then "distributed" across hundreds of separate processors contained within the two supercomputers. As a result, the two combined computers are able to process ultra-complex applications that ordinarily would have been too large for either computer to handle separately.


When fully functional, the supercomputer network – referred to as the Indiana Virtual Machine Room – will be the first in the nation to tie together university-owned computers with a combined peak capacity of more than one teraflop, or more than a trillion operations per second, said James Bottum, Purdue’s vice president for information technology.

The supercomputers are connected via the state’s new high-performance, optical-fiber network, called I-Light, which enables the exchange of large amounts of information at the speed of light. Purdue and IU tested the system for the first time last month.

The supercomputer grid will enable researchers to perform innovative and massive new calculations, including the simulation of "synthetic environments," applications that help to predict how millions of people might react to situations ranging from product marketing to natural disasters. The tera-scale capability also will help scientists run complex simulations, such as those that model the behavior of materials at the atomic level or the effects of an earthquake in a metropolitan area, and it will enable the analysis of genomic data to help identify new treatments for human disease.

"What we’ve done here is a proof of concept for a system that pools computer resources," Bottum said. "We are pushing the computational frontiers, creating a computational grid that spans geographic boundaries."

Combined, IU’s teraflop supercomputer and Purdue’s IBM supercomputer contain more than 900 processors, for a combined peak theoretical capacity of more than 1.4 teraflops, said Michael McRobbie, vice president for information technology and CIO at Indiana University.

"This computational grid will provide researchers at both institutions the benefit of larger total processing capacity than either university has alone," McRobbie said.

The linkage takes advantage of Purdue’s large memory configuration and IU’s raw computation power. Having the combined horsepower of two supercomputers will give the faculty and researchers at both institutions more flexibility in planning applications and sharing cycles and capacity.

"What we are effectively doing is building, virtually, a large computer out of multiple pieces," said David Moffett, Purdue’s associate vice president for information technology for research computing services. "We are leveraging resources and using I-Light to eventually solve problems we couldn’t have tackled before."

Applications that will be explored include environments called "synthetic economies," in which the behavior of millions of consumers can be predicted for a given economic scenario. The simulations, which are based on traditional military war-gaming, enable researchers and business people to see the consequences of their decisions and actions in real time. Possible applications include simulations that predict how consumers would respond to new promotional campaigns; changes in the pricing of particular products or the introduction of new products; what would happen if companies entered each others’ markets; and how changes in technology, regulatory laws or consumer demand would affect particular markets.

The software that makes the complex simulations possible was developed by Alok R. Chaturvedi, an associate professor of management at Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, and Shailendra Mehta, director of entrepreneurism and small business outreach at the Krannert School.

"What we do in our synthetic environment is create artificial people," Chaturvedi said. "They are calibrated based on real data, and they behave just as people do in the real world.

"Now, what the distributed tera-scale environment will do is allow us to create artificial agents at very fine granularities. This advanced computing environment will enable us to create a synthetic environment that contains more elements, or more virtual people, and will provide a more accurate, detailed representation of the reality."

The tera-scale capability has enabled the researchers to expand the number of people in a synthetic environment into the millions, compared to hundreds for conventional applications. Tera-scale computation also allows synthetic environments to be changed on the fly to fit new applications, said Chaturvedi, who has been working on the software since 1993 and has used it to solve problems for the U.S. Naval Air Command, U.S. Army Recruiting Command and companies in the personal computer and agribusiness industries.

"Life sciences computing also presents extremely large and complex computational challenges," said Craig Stewart, director of research and academic computing at Indiana University. "The linkage of the state’s two largest university-owned supercomputers will make possible analyses by life scientists affiliated with the Indiana Genomics Initiative that would otherwise be impossible."

The supercomputer grid has been tested with fastDNAml, a program that infers evolutionary relationships from DNA sequence data. IU has previously distributed this program among Indiana, Singapore and Australia – but on a limited-term basis. The universities’ computational grid holds the potential of being a valuable computational resource that will enhance research in many scientific disciplines at both campuses and will help build the state’s reputation as a hub of advanced information technology development.

Purdue has recently upgraded its IBM supercomputer through the IBM Shared University Research Program, which promotes research and strengthens ties between IBM and universities. Indiana University upgraded its IBM supercomputer to just more than 1 teraflop last year, making it the largest university-owned supercomputer in the United States. This upgrade was made possible in part by a grant from IBM and funding made available for the Indiana Genomics Initiative by the Lilly Endowment Inc.

Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Sources: James Bottum, (765) 496-2266, jb@purdue.edu

David Moffett, (765) 496-3886, dpm@purdue.edu

Michael McRobbie (812) 855-4717, vpit@indiana.edu

Craig Stewart, (812) 855-4240, stewart@indiana.edu

Emil Venere | EurekAlert

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>