High-Performance Computing

Texas A&M Upgrades to New, Faster Supercomputer

Texas A&M University has installed a new $2.1 million supercomputer, nicknamed "Terra," which will support research projects such as developing new drugs, forecasting storm surges and managing energy sources.

Texas A&M University operates two supercomputers. Terra will replace the university's Eos supercomputer, which was installed in 2009. Terra has "10 times the processing power of its predecessor," according to a report in Texas A&M Today. The new system was primarily funded by the university's Division of Research and the College of Geosciences, and it will be available to researchers throughout the university.

"With the processing power of Terra, the faculty and researchers in the College of Geosciences will get results more quickly and more accurately than ever before," Jack Baldauf, executive associate dean and associate dean for research in the College of Geosciences, told Texas A&M Today. "In addition, Terra will encourage our researchers across campus to seek out and engage in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary projects."

Built by Lenovo, Terra features an 8,512-core Lenovo cluster with nodes based on Intel's 64-bit, 14-core Broadwell processors. The system has 304 compute nodes, 256 of which have 64 gigabytes of memory. The other 48 nodes have 128 gigabytes of memory each and are each equipped with one NVIDIA Kepler K80 graphical processing unit (GPU). The system uses an Intel Omni-Path Architecture interconnection network and has one petabyte of high-performance storage. Operating at peak performance, Terra can handle more than 397 teraFLOPs (floating-point operations) per second.

Texas A&M University's other supercomputer, nicknamed Ada, went live in September 2014. Ada is a 17,340-core cluster with 852 compute nodes, most of which are based on Intel's 64-bit, 10-core IvyBridge processors. Ada has a peak performance of 337 teraFLOPs.

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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