High-Performance Computing

San Diego Supercomputer Center Gets 1-Year Extension on 'Gordon'

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) has received an extension from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue operating the supercomputer known as Gordon until August 31, 2016.

In late 2009, NSF awarded SDSC $20 million over five years to establish the supercomputer, and Gordon began operating in early 2012. At the time, Gordon was one of the fastest supercomputers in the world and the only one that used massive amounts of flash-based memory, according to information from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where the SDSC is located. By the end of 2014, 1,098 research projects and 762 principal investigators across the United States had used Gordon for data-intensive analysis. Most of those researchers access Gordon through the NSF's XSEDE (eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) program. With this extension, Gordon will be available for an additional year.

Gordon contains 300 trillion bytes of flash memory and 64 input-output nodes. It is capable of a peak performance of 341 teraFLOPS. According to UCSD, Gordon "was designed to do for scientific research what Google does for Web searches." It is ideal for researchers who work with vast quantities of data, such as those working in the fields of social science, earth sciences, molecular biology, chemistry, genomics and experimental high-energy physics.

According to Bob Sinkovits, director of the Scientific Applications Group in SDSC’s Data-Enabled Scientific Computing Division, "Gordon is a primary resource for several widely used Science Gateways that serve large communities of users. These include CIPRES, for phylogenetic inference; GridChem, for computational chemistry; and UltraScan, for analysis of ultracentrifuge data. Gordon also hosts a number of novel projects ranging from the biomedical sciences to analysis of the Internet, which require persistent access to flash storage and are not currently handled by other XSEDE resources."

Full specifications of the Gordon supercomputer can be found on SDSC's site.

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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