| Calgary keeps
pace with high performance computer
13 February 2001
CALGARY - The Compaq Alpha Cluster high performance computer
at the University of Calgary is being upgraded this week
to 172 processors, which could boost it into the ranks
of the world's top 500 super computers.
-The upgrade of the super computer at the University of
Calgary is a necessary step to ensure researchers at the
University of Calgary remain at the forefront of innovation
and discovery in advanced computing, says Keith Archer,
Interim Vice-President (Research). This high-tech infrastructure,
provided through a partnership between Alberta universities,
the federal and Alberta governments, and industry, is
a key element in our strategy to recruit and retain leading
faculty and graduate students at the University of Calgary.
This investment further builds upon our strategic thrust
in the area of information and communication technologies,
and has applications in a wide variety of areas of interest
to Albertans, from health to energy research. This research
infrastructure will help Albertans develop the knowledge-based
economy of tomorrow.
The Alpha Cluster was first purchased over two years ago
as part of the MACI (Multimedia Advanced Computational
Infrastructure) project and has been upgraded several
times. Other MACI resources at the U of C include virtual
reality and visualization equipment, large-format 2D and
3D printers, 3D scanners, and high-end video conferencing
resources. These resources are available for all researchers
at the University of Calgary through www.maci.ca.
The Cluster is connected to another 190-processor computational
resource at the University of Alberta via NeteraNet, Alberta's
high-speed research network. MACI has become a prototype
for a new generation of research computing grids.
"The combination of networking and computing provides
high performance computation and information storage that
is accessible by any researcher connected to NeteraNet,"
explains Dr Brian Unger, the University of Calgary principal
investigator for MACI. "This information processing power
supports previously unsolvable problems in climate prediction,
sports medicine visualization, computational chemistry,
and space physics."
MACI is designed to establish resources at Alberta's universities
for computation, multimedia and visualization. It is funded
by the Alberta Intellectual Infrastructure Partnership
Program, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and university
and industry partners.
Mary Anne Moser, MACI Communications, tel (403) 949-3306
Andrew Wark, University of Calgary Communications, tel
MACI Acquires New SGI Origin 3400Sean Hartigan (email@example.com)
CNS Client Services
19 December 2000
A new MACI-funded supercomputer has moved into the General
Services Building. A state-of-the-art SGI Origin 3400,
nicknamed Australis, arrived on December 19, and has taken
its place next to the Aurora and Borealis supercomputers
already residing there.
Ron Senda, Group Leader of CNS's Research Support Group,
says the Origin 3400 represents a significant technological
improvement over the older 2000 and 2400 models. Communication
speeds between individual nodes are double those in Borealis,
an Origin 2400. "Depending on the problem the user is
trying to solve, this will cause some programs to run
significantly faster," says Senda. "Anyone who has code
bottle-necked by interprocessor communications will find
the new machine a real pleasure to use."
"In a way, this is a replacement for Aurora," he says,
noting that advances in technology and scientific research
are currently making supercomputers obsolete in about
three years. "The problems just keep getting more complex,"
Senda says. "In order to have their simulations more accurately
replicate reality, researchers keep increasing the size
of their problems." But he emphasizes that the older machines
are still very usable. "Aurora will still be useful for
smaller problems," he says.
Australis currently contains sixteen 400 Mhz MIPS R12000
processors. It has four gigabytes of RAM, eighteen gigabytes
of disk space, and will run SGI's flavor of Unix, IRIX
6.5. MACI already has plans to upgrade the new machine.
In the next year, Australis will be upgraded to an Origin
3800 with 64 processors, 32 gigabytes of RAM, and 2.1
terabytes of disk space.
Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer, a Principle Investigator for the MACI project and Professor
in the Department of Computing Science, agrees that Australis is an exciting addition
to the University's array of computing resources. "We're excited about building
a world-class computing center here in Edmonton," says Schaeffer. "Our original
vision was to have 128 processors here, and now we're looking at having 176, which
is 48 for Aurora and 64 each for Borealis and Australis." CNS staff expect the
new supercomputer to be fully operational by the end of January.
Like its predecessors, Australis is part of the on-going
MACI (Multimedia Advanced Computational Infrastructure)
collaboration. MACI is a combined effort of the Universities
of Alberta, Calgary, and Lethbridge, the federal and provincial
governments, business partners, and individual researchers
to create a world-class computational infrastructure in
For more information about Australis or the MACI collaboration,
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or see the CNS Research
Computing home page at: www.ualberta.ca/cns/research
News Release Archive
30 August 2000 ALBERTA
INFRASTUCTURE PROJECTS LAUNCHED
7 December 1999, UNIVERSITY
OF ALBERTA CREATES LARGEST ACADEMIC COMPUTER IN CANADA
24 June 1999, ALBERTA'S
MACI PROJECT BIG WINNER IN NATIONAL RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE
1999, ALPHA CLUSTER
EXCEEDS PEAK CAPACITY
11 January 1999, JUST-IN-TIME
TRAINING AVAILABLE FOR MACI MEMBERS
11 January 1999,
MACI MEMBERS ENCOURAGED TO CONVEY WORKSHOP NEEDS
November 1998, MACI-2:
$4 MILLION PROVINCIAL FUNDING APPROVED
23 November 1998,
IMPRESSIVE EARLY RESULTS FROM NEW COMPUTER ON CAMPUS
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