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U Louisville Research Cluster Capacity with 194 IBM iDataPlex Nodes

Two and a half years after implementing a new high performance computing cluster to accommodate research on campus, the University of Louisville maxed out its capacity. Last week the university announced that it had gone online with new gear from IBM that will double its research computing power. The $1.8 million investment in the supercomputing system has outfitted the Cardinal Research Cluster with new IBM iDataplex nodes.

According to Mike Dyre, director of IT planning and finance, the university has added 194 IBM iDataPlex dx360 M3 nodes. Each node has two Intel Xeon 2.66GHz processors, 500 GB of local storage, and 48 GB of memory. The system also includes four nodes (soon to be 14) with dual general-purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU) for visualization and accelerated processing. With the new nodes that brings the grand total to 520 nodes and over 5,000 cores for the whole cluster, he said.

Dyre added that research projects using the cluster are focusing on cancer research, solar energy, bioinformatics applications, metabolomics, materials science, and molecular modeling.

"With the previous computer, we went from years of work down to just weeks. With the upgrade, we can now take it down to days," said John Trent, who performs pediatric cancer research. "It's a tremendous resource and it really is second to none."

IBM has given the university a "Shared University Research" award, which is accompanied by extra computing systems and access to IBM engineers to work with Louisville's IT staff to maximize the supercomputer's performance.

"Our researchers and staff have been able to greatly expand innovation in critical areas with the help of the Cardinal Research Cluster," said Priscilla Hancock, vice president and chief information officer at U Louisville. "Collaborating with IBM has given the University access to high performing systems that optimally manage our research."

The cluster expansion was partially funded by a $1.8 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, a unit of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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