Thursday, February 09, 2006

USC Supercomputer - Trojan Power

Just stumbled upon this news while I was browsing my University's website. This news came out back when when I was frantickly applying to get into USC back in November. Is is like 3 months old but the record still holds and the news piece is still valid today. So I post it here for your perusal. It is about the University of Southern California's Supercomputer at our High-Perfomance Computing and Communication Lab here. The record-breaking performance of nearly 11 trillion calculations per second makes it the nation’s second most powerful computer system in an academic setting. That is 11 followed by 12 zeros btw. *grins*

The nation’s second-fastest supercomputer in an academic setting belongs to the USC Center for High-Performance Computing and Communications, according to TOP500 Supercomputer Sites, an online publication that ranks the sites operating the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world.

The latest TOP500 rankings were announced Nov. 15 at the Supercomputer Conference 2005 in Seattle, Wash.

Among supercomputers in an academic setting, HPCC’s parallel supercomputer rose from fourth- to second-fastest in the United States in just six months.

Among all supercomputers in the world, HPCC’s cluster jumped in the rankings from 37th to 24th. The supercomputer claimed these distinctions by achieving a benchmark in September of 10.75 teraflops, or 10.75 trillion calculations per second.

In the previous TOP500 rankings, released six months ago, the HPCC supercomputer clocked in at 7.291 teraflops.

A recent upgrade of the HPCC cluster, which increased the system’s total number of compute nodes from 1,716 to 1,830, powered the supercomputer’s record-breaking performance.

“The HPCC supercomputer has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years,” said James Pepin, director of the HPCC.

“In June 2003, when the HPCC supercomputer first entered the Top500 rankings, it achieved a benchmark of one teraflop and was ranked 55th in the world. Today it is more than 10 times faster and has leapt to 24th in the rankings. We’ve come a long way in a very short time,” Pepin said.

HPCC is an interdisciplinary partnership supported by numerous schools and departments across USC. HPCC bridges USC’s strengths in scientific computing, computer science and communications by supporting more than 120 research groups in a variety of disciplines, ranging from genomics and geophysics to materials science and natural language translation.

“USC has made modest local investments to achieve its current status among the world’s top supercomputer sites, while many of the higher-ranked systems are mega-projects supported by national funding sources,” said Michael Pearce, USC’s deputy chief information officer.

“The local aspect of HPCC allows USC researchers unfettered access to a world-class resource,” Pearce said.

Priya Vashishta, chair of the Faculty Advisory Council for HPCC, said, “Many national governments and top research universities are pouring resources into high-performance computing because they recognize that the future of research in so many fields depends on it.

“USC researchers are very fortunate to have a world-class supercomputer on campus to support their research and the creation of complex computer simulations,” said Vashishta, professor of chemical engineering, materials science and computer science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and professor of physics and astronomy in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

HPCC displays supercomputing simulations in its new USC Center for Data Visualization and Collaboration.

“One of the great opportunities we have at HPCC is to move beyond the traditional realms and problems tackled by supercomputing to address issues of how people interact with information and each other to help create meaning in a digital society,” said Thomas Katsouleas, professor of electrical engineering and electrophysics in the USC Viterbi School and president of the USC faculty senate.

Part of the focus of HPCC is to expand the reach of high-end computing by addressing system-level questions in social, economic and cultural research.

“We are unique in academia in having a supercomputing resource of this class that is available across the disciplines and for classroom use as well as research. In this way, HPCC is helping USC to create the virtual worlds and immersive environments that will revolutionize higher education in the 21st century,” Katsouleas said.

By Kevin Durkin - USC News

Another star on USC's shoulders. Btw if your wondering why I always write Fight on Trojans! It is because we are the USC Trojans and Fight on! is our motto.
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