UK Awards Supercomputer Contract

POSTED: JULY 25, 2012

The University of Kentucky has awarded a contract to Dell Inc for a new supercomputer cluster to replace our Lipscomb High Performance Computing Cluster, also known as the DLX. The University put out an RFP on March 29 and received five responses. After a thorough assessment by an evaluation committee of faculty and IT administrators, Dell's proposal was chosen as the best fit for our needs, within our budget, and the most flexible proposal overall.

The new cluster will be installed in McVey Hall when it arrives in July and must be fully operational before the end of August. Due to the limited power in McVey Hall, the Lipscomb cluster must be powered down before the full new cluster can be powered up. This will mean an intense effort by Dell technicians, our HPC team, Data Center Operations, and the Center for Computational Sciences to minimize the disruption for our researchers. As soon as possible, a conversion schedule will be posted on the UK HPC web site (see the link below).

High Performance Computing (HPC) is the use of the fastest computer systems available to solve very large and complex problems. The University of Kentucky has been a leader in HPC for scientific research and teaching since 1987, and its supercomputers have ranked as high as #66 on a list of the Top 500 supercomputers world-wide (see The supercomputer cluster is available to any faculty at UK and at any research institution in the state. UK researchers also collaborate with other scientists around the globe. Active research areas at UK include physics, astronomy, biochemistry, pharmacy, medicine, mechanical engineering, and many others.

The new HPC facility will be an important step in helping UK researchers to keep pace in the design of new materials for magnetic applications, understanding of biological chemical processes, investigations of the origins of the universe and subatomic particles, development of new types of batteries, and improvements in automobile manufacture and design of improved pharmaceuticals.

The new cluster will feature:

256 basic compute nodes, each with dual Intel E5-2670 2.6 GHz 8 core (2x8) processors and 64GB
8 "fat" compute nodes, each with quad Intel E5-4640 2.4 GHz 8 core (4x8) processors and 512GB
24 GPU enabled nodes, each with dual Intel E5-2670 2.6 GHz 8 core (2x8) processors, 64GB, and two NVIDIA M2075 GPUs
800 TB of DDN storage for home and scratch space
FDR InfiniBand interconnect fabric

The new supercomputer will have a theoretical maximum 140 teraflops. A teraflop is a trillion floating point operations (calculations) per second. We're hoping for 80% efficiency on a sustained test, which would have been good enough for #160 on the June 2012 Top 500 supercomputers list. The DLX runs at about 40 teraflops in a sustained test and debuted at #259 on the November 2012 list.

For more details on High Performance Computing at the University of Kentucky, visit our web site at Please direct questions and requests for HPC assistance to the Help HPC list at

859-218-HELP (859-218-4357)