Supercomputing Upgrades at UAF

Fairbanks, Alaska -- The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center (ARSC) announced today the installation of the center's first IBM supercomputer, as well as a major upgrade to the center's existing Cray SV1 supercomputer. The upgrade and installation will enhance the center's position as a valuable technical resource within the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and allow researchers studying topics as varied as ocean circulation and space physics to take advantage of the latest in supercomputing technology.

"This kind of diversification and increased capability allows the center to provide users with more possibilities for tackling extremely complex models," said ARSC Director Frank Williams. "These models help researchers gain a fuller understanding of natural phenomena and create new science."

IBM Supercomputer

ARSC's first IBM supercomputer is an IBM SP Power3 Winterhawk II system. The computer, named Icehawk , has 200 processors, 92 gigabytes of memory and one terabyte of disk space. Icehawk is capable of performing 276 billion floating point operations per second, making it the fastest computer available at ARSC--and doubling the center's overall computational capacity.

Icehawk is located in the Butrovich computing facility on the UAF campus along with the center's Cray supercomputers. The addition of Icehawk follows a series of upgrades and additions that have kept the center current over the last eight years.

New SV1ex Processors

In April, ARSC became the first customer to receive new SV1ex processors from Cray, Inc. Each of the 32 processors runs at 500 Mhz and performs four floating point operations simultaneously, resulting in a single processor performance of two billion floating-point operations per second. The installation of the new processors doubled the computational power of the SV1, making it capable of performing over 64 billion floating-point operations per second overall.

The SV1ex, named Chilkoot , is also located in the Butrovich computing facility and is used by scientists to conduct research on ocean circulation and ice formation as well as a variety of other applications. The upgrade is the second phase of a three-phase expansion that will be competed this summer with the installation of faster memory.

"We're excited about these new additions to the center," said Williams. "We are confident that by pushing the barrier with these new technologies we are helping to secure UAF and the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center as a world-class participant in the field of computational science."

About the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center

ARSC supports computational research in science and engineering with an emphasis on high latitudes and the Arctic. The center provides high performance computational, visualization, networking and data storage resources for researchers within the University of Alaska, other academic institutions, the Department of Defense and other government agencies.


CONTACT: Jenn Wagaman, ARSC Publications Specialist, voice: (907)450-8662, email:

Barbara Horner-Miller, Associate Director, (907)474-5409, email:


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