High-Performance Computing

U Victoria, U Michigan Partner on HPC for High Energy Physics Research

Physicists at the University of Michigan and the University of Victoria in Canada have implemented a multi-site supercomputing project to help them share massive volumes of data with the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland and 100 computing centers around the world.

In 2015, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN will begin "colliding elements at the highest highest energies ever achieved in a particle accelerator," according to a news release. Physicists at the University of Michigan and the University of Victoria will use the data from CERN to help discover new particles and forces. They need to be able to transfer approximately 170 petabyte datasets from CERN at speeds of 100-gigabits per second, so they can access the data quickly, analyze it and speed up discoveries.

To achieve those speeds, the researchers created a single server data transfer architecture using SanDisk's Fusion ioMemory, By implementing a single server rather than a multi-server architecture, they were able to reduce the server's footprint, complexity, cost and points-of-failure, according to a news release from SanDisk.

"The ATLAS and CMS supercomputing projects are very large international projects, each involving approximately 3,000 researchers and most of the world's countries," said Randall Sobie, a scientist at the Institute of Particle Physics Research and professor at the University of Victoria, in a prepared statement. "These are long term projects — they started 20 years ago and will continue for another 20-plus years."

The physicists demonstrated the data transfer at the SuperComputing 2014 conference in New Orleans in November.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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