Upgrade to OSC Supercomputer Provides More Power for Bio-Sciences Research

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Feb 24, 2004) — 

For more information, contact:
Leslie Southern
OSC Director of High Performance Computing

The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) announced today an upgrade to its SV1ex vector supercomputer that will increase its processing capacity by 33 percent. With the addition of eight new processors, peak performance is now 64 Gigaflops (Gflops). A Gflop is the computational power of 1 billion floating point operations per second. The sixty-four Gflops capability delivers the computing power of roughly 64 billion calculators all yielding an answer each and every second.

Purchased in 1999, the SV1ex upgrade significantly increases the performance capacity of a system that has proven to be a workhorse for the research community. The SV1ex upgrade can handle more computational operations simultaneously, so that researchers don't have to wait long for results. The SV1ex upgrade allows researchers to continue using a system whose hardware is custom designed for their computational needs in vector processing.

"OSC has had a vector machine since the Center opened in 1987. The CRAY SV1ex has performed well for a number of years and is still highly utilized by researchers from several Ohio universities," said Leslie Southern, Director of High Performance Computing. "This upgrade has made the machine even more sought after by those who need highly sustained memory performance."

In addition to vector processing, the Center also supports -- parallel processing and shared memory processing. While each type of machine offers unique performance capabilities for different applications, vector machines are best suited for codes that repeatedly compute long arrays of numbers commonly used by researchers in chemistry, physics, astronomy, genetics and other complex fields of science.

Today, OSC has a collection of supercomputers including the SUN SunFire 6800, IA32 Cluster, Itanium 2 Cluster (includes an SGI Altix 3000), BALE Cluster, OSC Mass Storage System, and OSC Interface Lab.

The demand for more computational power has increased considerably as research in the rapidly growing field of biosciences, particularly bioinformatics, has expanded. To support this expanding field of science, OSC has also added a software library specifically designed to rapidly calculate common algorithms used by Ohio researchers. The SV1ex has identity sequence search capabilities that can accelerate high throughput analysis one-to-three orders of magnitude. Bioinformaticists will see a noticeable increase in throughput with the combination of the specifically optimized software libraries for bioscience applications and the additional vector processors.

“The Cray’s combination of fast comparisons and large memory is a great asset for the size of problem demanded by Ohio researchers. Leading-edge projects at The Ohio State University and Miami University are taking advantage of the bioinformatics libraries to utilize SV1 power yet remain focused on the algorithms under development.”

SV1ex specifications include: 32 500-MHz vector processors; 2 vector pipes (pathways for instructions) per processor; 8192 Megawords (64 Gbytes) of total memory; 4096 Megawords (32 Gbytes) of user memory; and maximum memory bandwidth of approximately 25 Gbytes/sec.