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Utah Groups Prepare to Build Super Computers

Utah Groups Prepare to Build Super Computers

Posted - Aug. 14, 2003 at 5:47 p.m.



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Ed Yeates ReportingTwo Utah groups are about to build two separate supercomputers among the most powerful in the world. The technology will allow researchers to pull off complex experiments they've never been able to do before.

Scientists were blown away when the first big cumbersome computer network was built back in 1946. From that early beginning that was in a room that probably comprised at least three thousand square feet, supercomputers now are down to about five rows of processors. But the University of Utah's new supercomputer will take up only one row of processors.

Even more, instead of four processors on each shelf, the new supercomputer will have thirteen units with 26 processors on each shelf. That's one thousand computers all tied together in a room less than 100 square feet. And the U can add more computers as needed.

Smaller yet in ranking, the University's "Metacluster" supercomputer, will rank among the 20 to 30 most powerful computers in the world.

Guy Adams, Univ. of Utah Center for High Performance Computing: "We haven't had this large of a resource to ever offer the researchers on this campus. So, we’re now moving into thousands of processors which opens up tons of doors for people to run bigger models."

That means bigger more complex experiments leading to more discoveries in genetics, biology, medicine, and bioengineering.

Julio Facelli, Univ. of Utah Center for High Performance Computing: "It allows particularly our students to experiment and come up with new ideas."

While the university begins building its two-million dollar Metacluster, Utah-based Linux Corporation today announced it will build yet another of the world's most powerful supercomputers for the Los Alamos National Lab.

"Lightning," as it's called, will help government scientists computer test the safety and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile without having to blow up a single bomb. Linux won the Los Alamos contract bidding against the country's biggest computer makers.

The National Institutes of Health is funding the University's Metacluster because of the U's work in bio-medics and genetics.

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