ARSC's new "Pingo" supercomputer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 18, 2008

Fairbanks, Alaska - Pingo is the name of the new Cray XT5 supercomputer arriving at the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks this fall. ARSC's newest supercomputer was acquired through the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program. Pingo will provide approximately 31.8 theoretical peak teraflops of computing power and will have 3,456 processor cores on 432 nodes. It will have 13.5 terabytes of memory and 150 terabytes of shared high-speed storage. A smaller test and development system will accompany the main system. XT5 systems use Cray's SeaStar interconnect.

Supercomputing resources at ARSC are used by a global community of researchers within the U.S. Defense Department, the University of Alaska and other locations. Projects include study of the world's oceans, which consists of creating models that predict the force and direction of tsunami waves or the potential for ice-free summers in the Arctic.

Studies of atmospheric phenomena include development of accurate and reliable modeling of the influence of weather on volcanic ash transport, which has an immediate impact on aircraft flying northern polar routes and the health and safety of those on the ground. Pingo will allow ARSC to expand atmospheric studies that include forecasting space weather's impact on worldwide communications and radar systems, as well as providing optimal, Arctic-specific high-resolution Earth weather forecasts to include smoke dispersion from wildfires.

ARSC has a history of naming supercomputing systems with Arctic themes. A pingo is an earth-covered ice hill formed by the upward expansion of underground ice. Pingos tend to form in permafrost environments and can reach a height of up to 230 feet.

The new Cray XT5 will replace Iceberg, ARSC's 800 processor IBM Power 4+ supercomputer. Iceberg has served ARSC users well and performed in an outstanding manner, and will be retired in July 2008.

Pingo is slated for installation at the end of the summer, with early user access anticipated in October. Users will have full access to Midnight, ARSC's 2,312 processor Sun Opteron cluster, during the time the new Cray XT5 is installed.

The software and programming environment on Pingo is based on Cray's Compute Node Linux, and provides a wide range of functionality for parallel programming. ARSC personnel provide support to computational scientists for programming, performance tuning and analysis of results.

CONTACT: UAF ARSC Communications Group Leader Debra Damron, 907.450.8662 or damron@arsc.edu .

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