CRAY T3D Massively Parallel Supercomputer Installed

FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- The most powerful computer in Alaska is soon going to be more powerful. The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center (ARSC) plans to connect a new $5.25 million supercomputer that has 128 processors to its existing supercomputer. The two computers will operate as one powerful, unified system to support Arctic science research.

The new supercomputer is expected to arrive in Fairbanks Wednesday, Feb. 23 following a 3,500 mile highway journey from Chippewa Falls, Wis. The supercomputer departed Whitehorse, YT, today.

Most computers have only one central processor, but the center's new supercomputer is a massively parallel processing (MPP) computer manufactured by Cray Research Inc. MPP supercomputers are cutting edge technology that are extremely fast because they divide computing work among many processors.

The center's new supercomputer is a CRAY T3D. Connected to the center's existing large-memory CRAY Y-MP supercomputer Denali the T3D will perform 19.2 billion operations per second. The T3D system is about 50,000 times more powerful than a home or office desktop computer.

Students, faculty, and researchers have been preparing for the new system by attending training offered by ARSC.

The 6,000 pound CRAY T3D is about the size of a large standup home freezer. Installation is expected to be completed by March 1.

ARSC supports environmental research with an emphasis on the Arctic. "The new CRAY T3D system, along side our existing four-processor CRAY Y-MP M98 system, will be a powerful combination supporting high latitude research, general science, oceanic studies, and other mission critical U.S. government initiatives," said ARSC Director Tom Healy.

ARSC is located in the Butrovich Building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) campus. In 1991, Congress appropriated $25,000,000 to fund the supercomputing center. The T3D system was acquired under this federal appropriation and is an upgrade of the original computer system.

The ARSC supercomputer went on-line January 1993. Today more than 150 users in Alaska and worldwide use the supercomputer.

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