Hardware & Software

Like the innovators for whom they are named, these resources expand the research horizons for a multitude of scientific endeavors

Kevin Wohlever, director of supercomputing operations

The Ohio Supercomputer Center offers researchers a diverse array of computer platform and software environments. The Center also provides the staff expertise to help port codes to specialized hardware configurations at OSC or national petascale centers, or to develop customized software or web portals for increased throughput on larger projects. In fact, OSC maintains more than 30 software applications and provides access to more than 70 different software packages in the areas of biosciences, computational fluid dynamics, structural mechanics and mesh generation, among others.

In August 2009, OSC more than doubled the capacity and memory of the Center’s flagship IBM 1350 “Glenn” Cluster with the addition of a Biosciences Cluster. The expansion brings OSC’s peak computational capabilities to 75 teraflops, boosting the machine’s ranking to ninth among U.S. academic systems. The Center’s capabilities were further enhanced in recent months with the addition of the robust “Csuri” Advanced GPU Visualization Environment. The deployment increased the Center’s ability to serve advanced large-scale remote visualization and batch-rendering applications, as well as GPGPU and advanced visualization applications.

A prime example of recent GPU utilization involves the work of Umit Catalyurek, Ph.D., associate professor in The Ohio State University Department of Biomedical Informatics and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Catalyurek accessed OSC’s GPU nodes to develop a componentbased runtime system for various biomedical image analyses and synthetic aperture radar image formations.

OSC’s IBM 1350 Glenn Cluster, including the Csuri Advanced GPU Visualization Environment

The benefits from the Csuri Advanced GPU environment also extend to the work of its namesake, Charles “Chuck” Csuri, the “father of computer graphics and animation,” whose sophisticated digital art involves rendering of thousands of giant frames. Over the years, Csuri founded the Computer Graphics Research Group, the OSC Graphics Project and ACCAD, an OSU academic unit dedicated to the development of digital art and computer animation.

Other upgrades to hardware and software this past year include the addition of one petabyte of disk space to the mass storage system, as well as the following:

  • Virtual Machine Images for HPC users – OSC VMs can share storage with OSC compute clusters in order to support production computing requests, specialized software, different operating system requirements (such as Microsoft Windows) and dedicated program development environments.
  • Core Server Infrastructure Improvements – OSC upgraded its core system servers and streamlined administration, making the servers easier to support, expand, replace and upgrade, while reinforcing security.
  • Tivoli Storage Manager Upgrades – Along with server upgrades, the TSM upgrade provides faster service and positions OSC to support future functionality for user home directory back up, project space and key support directories.