Ohio Supercomputer Center deploys IBM system expansion to boost research into biosciences, other areas of focus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Aug 31, 2009) — 

The Ohio Supercomputer Center today deploys a much anticipated $4 million expansion to its flagship system, providing further computational support to the state’s economic development aspirations in research and innovation.

Glenn Cluster
OSC's Gleen IBM Cluster 1350

The expanded IBM Cluster 1350 integrates additional, faster IBM hardware into the original system, which first became operational in January 2008. Because of pent-up demand for supercomputing access by Ohio researchers, the original system reached operational capacity in just three months.

“The expansion, which is dedicated to bioscience and additional research efforts targeted by the state, provides badly needed high performance computing resources for academic and industry researchers,” said Stanley C. Ahalt, executive director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

“For every $1 the State in Ohio invests in OSC, $17 returns to the Ohio economy,” Ahalt said. “With these critical, new supercomputing assets in place, researchers can further propel Ohio to the forefront of biosciences research, funding and job creation.”

The center’s combined system provides 75 teraflops of computing power and 24 terabytes of memory on 9,532 cores, said Kevin Wohlever, director of supercomputing operations. A teraflop represents the processing of one trillion instructions per second, and, similarly, a terabyte is equal to one trillion bytes of computer storage space.

“Because computer systems are continuously evolving, the timing of the expansion was critical to ensure the new components could work compatibly with the 2008 components,” said Doug Johnson, a senior systems developer and the technical lead for the expansion project. “The combined system more than doubles the computing capacity and memory that was previously available on the IBM Cluster 1350.”

OSC research partnerships include the cancer identification work with Nationwide Children’s Research Institute on the Virtual Microscopy to Microarray project, which has garnered attention from national oncology groups. OSC empowers researchers with the Ohio State University Medical Center’s Department of Biomedical Informatics to track the spread of the H1N1 influenza virus, while other researchers at Ohio State’s College of Pharmacy use OSC resources to investigate treatments for neurological diseases.

Christopher Hadad, a professor of chemistry at Ohio State, depends on the resources of the Ohio Supercomputer Center to conduct multiple research projects, ranging from developing an antidote for chemical nerve agents to understanding the function of novel biomaterials and nanomaterials. Hadad and his research students were invited, along with several other researchers who routinely run large-scale calculations on OSC systems, to test the expanded system prior to the launch.

“The demand for high performance computing resources by researchers and industry will only continue to grow,” said Hadad, who also chairs a peer-review grant process that allocates the supercomputer’s resources to all academic researchers. “Access to robust supercomputing resources enables us to attract the best talent, businesses and research funding to Ohio.”

More information on the Ohio Supercomputer Center IBM Cluster 1350 can be obtained at www.osc.edu.

OSC’s IBM Cluster 1350 configuration includes:

  • 75 teraflops of theoretical peak performance
  • 1,624 nodes/24 Tbytes of memory/9,532 cores
    • 877 dual socket, dual core nodes (2.6 GHz Opteron); 8 GBs memory/node
    • 86 quad socket, dual core nodes (2.6 GHz Opteron); 16 GBs memory/node
    • 2 dual socket, dual core nodes (2.6 GHz Opteron); 8 GBs memory (login nodes)
    • 650 dual socket, quad core nodes (2.5 GHz Shanghai); 24 GBs memory/node
    • 8 quad socket, quad core nodes (2.4 GHz Shanghai); 64 GBs memory/node
    • 1 e1350 Blade Center, with 4 dual cell-based QS20 blades
  • All connected together by 10 Gbps Infiniband


The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries that provides a reliable high performance computing infrastructure for a diverse statewide/regional community including education, academic research, industry, and state government. OSC promotes and stimulates computational research and education in order to act as a key enabler for the state's aspirations in advanced technology, information systems, and advanced industries. For additional information, visit http://www.osc.edu.