Using a Supercomputer in Antarctica

Knuth worked at CIRES, a collaboration between CU Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in 2009 to explore how energy transfers in Antarctica from the air and water. Knuth received his Ph.D. in atmospheric and oceanic sciences while stationed in Antarctica.

3000 Origin

The Antarctic Science Platform has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with New Zealand’s eScience Infrastructure to use its Origin 3000 supercomputer to help researchers in the area handle hard scientific challenges. Each computing rack in the supercomputer contains 128 processors and 256GB of memory, making it a tremendously powerful instrument. It is already assisting scientists in investigating scientific difficulties in the area. A federal government grant and contributions from partners were used to acquire the supercomputer.

The supercomputer will assist researchers in doing more studies on the South Pole. The new supercomputer can do polar research, climate modeling, mathematical modeling of magnetic resonance imaging, computation chemistry, engineering fluid dynamics, and other investigations. Using this powerful supercomputer, the researchers were able to reduce their study time in half. The new computer will allow researchers to do more research in Antarctica than they previously could.

IBM e1350

Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, have been running the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS), a computer model that generates operational predictions that enable scientists in Antarctica to plan their activities, on an IBM e1350 supercomputer. The IBM e1350 supercomputer cost less than $100,000 and was designed to fulfill AMPS’ near-term modeling requirements. It might also develop and extend to suit the future demands of AMPS.

With 270 gigabytes of memory and 3 terabytes of storage space, the e1350 offers a peak computational power of 600 billion computations per second. The computer is connected to NCAR’s huge data storage system and local area network.

Origin 3000 SGI

The SGI Origin 3000 supercomputer was recently utilized to study Antarctica’s ice sheets. It is a multi-processor computer that communicates continuously between CPUs. Every few seconds, the system exchanges data between the processors. A cluster of Origin 3000 systems has the potential to expand to thousands of CPUs. Infiniband and gigabit Ethernet are used in the system. It is made up of rackmount modules linked together by NUMAlink 3 and Crosstown2 cables. It comes in an eight-U short rack and a seventeen-U-high short rack.

The Origin 3000 was a game-changing product. It is considered to be one of the first high-performance modular computers. With 512 processors, it is capable of multi-core computing. On the TOP500 list of the most powerful computers, its performance ranks second in the world. The supercomputer can achieve 1.6 teraflops of sustained performance, and all nodes combined can achieve 2.5 teraflops.

2,600 Compaq Alpha computers at Sandia

Compaq AlphaServer machines are parallel computers that run a customized version of RedHat Linux. The systems are small enough to fit into a conventional rack. Sandia has built them to hold 33 systems in one rack, with enough left over for additional components. Three subsystems comprise the clusters. Antarctica, the largest subcluster, has 1,632 processors, while the other two subsystems each have 1,056 processors.

Compaq’s Alpha computer line has been successful for a long time, and the company has installed over 800,000 AlphaServer systems since the first Alpha computers were released in 1987. However, with the introduction of Intel’s Itanium chip, the Alpha series is no longer lucrative. In truth, Compaq no longer intends to maintain the Alpha range of computers.

The eScience Infrastructure of New Zealand

The New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) is a high-performance computer research center committed to providing scientists with the tools they need to solve some of the world’s most difficult issues. The infrastructure contributes to research initiatives by providing high-performance computer equipment, consulting services, and data services. NeSI emphasizes both the human and technological components of research.

This infrastructure is critical for NIWA scientists that work on climate modeling studies with foreign partners. To obtain the data from their climate modeling study, they need a dependable data transmission infrastructure. The National Data Transfer Platform, powered by Globus, is managed by New Zealand’s eScience Infrastructure to facilitate rapid, safe, and reliable data exchanges.