4, 2000 (Lexington, Ky.)
The University of Kentuckys new high-performance
computer places UK 10th among all high-performance academic
computer centers in the United States and 200th in the
rankings of the top 500 supercomputer sites worldwide.
exactly where we need to be, said Doug Hurley, associate vice president for UK
Information Systems. This university
has long been committed to being one of the nations great research universities. This class of high-performance computing
capability is essential to achieving that goal.
rankings were compiled in June by the University of Tennessee and Mannheim University in
Mannheim, Germany. The rankings are regularly
new N-Class high-performance computer is capable of 169 billion calculations per second, a
231 percent increase over UKs previous X-Class computer. The N-Class computer -- comprised of a NCX cluster that
includes 12 HP N-4000 servers connected by a high-speed network offers spectacular
increases in computing capabilities.
example, the new supercomputer has 50 percent more processors than UKs previous
supercomputer. The new computer also offers a
120 percent increase in processing speed, a 500 percent increase in memory capacity and a
375 percent increase in disk space. That
level of research computing capability positions UK as a major contributor in national
research and instructional innovation.
Connolly, director of the UK Center for Computational Sciences, said UKs commitment
to providing state-of-the-art computing resources to faculty and students is key to its
current leadership position.
"UK installed its first supercomputer and established the computational science
center more than a decade ago, said Connolly. Equally
important, noted Connolly, was the establishment of a financial strategy of continual
funding to regularly upgrade core technologies such as the high-performance computer.
financial vision and strategy, driven by President Charles T. Wethington Jr. and Vice
President for Information Systems Gene Williams, put us out in front in computational
science, he said.
Connolly noted UK is a partner in the National Science Foundations National
Computational Science Alliance (NCSA). Through
NCSA a cooperative coalition of computational and computer scientists in academia,
government and industry -- UK collaborates with more than 50 U.S. universities and
research institutions actively developing the information infrastructure of the next
primary NCSA project is the development of the National Technology Grid, a high-speed
computer network linking U.S. high-performance computers, instrumentation and databases. When complete, the National Technology Grid will
connect the nations treasury of innovative minds and most powerful computers to fuel
the most potent knowledge-discovery team in the nation.
UKs computing power is appreciated beyond campus boundaries. As
a beneficiary of a portion of the NSF $40-million grant to establish and support the
alliance, other NCSA institutions have access to UKs high-performance computer.
Were required to contribute high-performance computing time to the national
pool, Connolly explained. Researchers
at other institutions petition the NCSA National Allocation Board, which matches
researchers to alliance supercomputers. In
return, our researchers can apply for time on other institutions supercomputers. Like people, some computers are better at some
tasks than others. The board matches the
task to the computer thats most capable of handling that task. Basically, the research capabilities of all
partner institutions are expanded.
computing power also generates funding benefits.
this era, supporting computing excellence is a good investment, Connolly said. For example, the total amount of grant money
attracted by UK faculty associated with the UK Computational Science Center is around $10
million. Thats for research that
requires a high-performance computer. In
essence and in the long run the computer actually pays for itself.
the best benefit of UKs computational research capabilities and leadership may well
be seen in the caliber of UK students.
a university, our product is our students, Connolly pointed out. Because of UKs foresight over a decade
ago, were able to offer our students experience in working with the newest computing
tools available, and mentoring opportunities with researchers who are developing new
levels of computational technology and capabilities.
projects by UK researchers utilizing the supercomputer include chemistry, fluid dynamics,
protein structure, particle physics, and ocean modeling as well as projects in
astrophysics, nanotechnology, engineering, mathematics, pharmacy and agricultural science.
new N-Class high-performance computer is overseen and operated by the UK Computing Center,
a division of UK Information Systems.