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Cardiff supplies UK National Grid Service with first Windows Condor Pool

Cardiff University has increased its provision to the UK’s National Grid Service (NGS) by adding the first Windows Condor Pool to the service. Cardiff University’s Information Services Directorate has been running a 1000-processor Condor Pool for over 3 years.

Use by the University’s researchers has grown considerably in this time and has saved local researchers years of time in processing their results. As an NGS partner, Cardiff will be making the Condor Pool freely available to all NGS users from institutions around the UK.

Professor Tim Wess from the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences at Cardiff University used Condor to process the results for the Tropoelastin Project. The project aimed to investigate the molecular basis for the elasticity of Tropoelastin molecules which are precursors to the elastic fibres which are collectively responsible for the stretching properties of tissues such as skin, arterial walls and the lungs. Using Gasbor to build a model of a typical Tropoelastin molecule takes 30 hours. Using Condor the same simulation ran in just two hours.

Jonathan Giddy, Grid Technologies Co-ordinator for the Welsh e-Science Centre, said “The Windows Condor Pool can be used to perform a range of computations, from determining the structure of proteins to calculating radiotherapy dosages. By contributing these resources to the National Grid Service we are enabling researchers nationwide to run a greater number of Windows based programmes thereby continuing to open up the NGS to new types of user."

Cardiff University’s new Advanced Research Computing Division, led by Professor Martyn Guest, will now run the Condor Pool in addition to purchasing and managing a large tightly coupled cluster for the benefit of local researchers.

Dr James Osborne, Condor Project Manager and Application Support Engineer for the Advanced Research Computing division, said “The Windows Condor Pool is the most widely used computing resource on campus and has delivered over 2 million CPU hours since I became Project Manager in early 2006. The largest users of Condor are based in the Department of Epidemiology, Statistics and Public Health and are using Condor to help them analyse their data using combinatorial methods.”

Gillian Sinclair | alfa
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