Ohio Supercomputer Center to boost state bioscience efforts, economic development with high performance computer expansion

COLUMBUS, Ohio – February 25, 2009 - The Ohio Supercomputer Center today announced the purchase of a $4 million expansion of its flagship supercomputing system, a strategic addition that will more than double the Center’s current computing power and memory, significantly increase the Center’s computational capacity dedicated to Ohio’s bioscience and research efforts and further increase the state’s competitive advantage.

The expansion will integrate a new generation of IBM hardware into OSC’s IBM Cluster 1350, which become operational in January 2008. Because of the pent-up demand by Ohio researchers for supercomputing access, the new system reached operational capacity in just three months.

“By adding badly needed computing resources for academic and industry researchers, this expansion can further propel Ohio to the forefront of biosciences research and job creation,” said Stanley C. Ahalt, executive director of OSC. “With critical supercomputing resources, Ohio researchers can increase the state’s share of national bioscience funding.

“We appreciate the continued support of The State of Ohio and The Ohio State University. Their approval of the expansion leverages the State’s prior investment in supercomputing and is a testament to their foresight regarding OSC’s role in the turnaround of our economy.”

Ohio policymakers in recent years have moved to strategically align Ohio’s research and technology portfolio, identifying 12 institutional and industrial platforms most promising for statewide economic impact. Of these dozen platforms, OSC officials determined that the biosciences – along with advanced materials and data exploitation – would be one of the most productive areas in which the Center could focus investments, collaborations, research and market solutions.

“The Ohio Supercomputer Center has fostered close ties with the state’s bioscience research community, especially within bioinformatics and biomedical sciences,” said Anthony Dennis, president and CEO of BioOhio. “Expanding the availability of high performance computing resources for academic and industry researchers will further Ohio’s growth as a national leader in the biosciences.”

An example of OSC’s partnerships includes work with Nationwide Children’s Research Institute on the innovative Virtual Microscopy to Microarray cancer identification project, which has garnered attention from national oncology groups. And, OSC’s partnership with the Ohio State University Medical Center’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, working on its caGrid infrastructure and related bioinformatics software, provides a national information network that may speed cancer research discoveries.

“High performance computing resources, such as the resources provided by the Ohio Supercomputer Center, speed research in cancer and infectious diseases; they also enable us to attract the best talent and funding,” said Daniel Janies, an associate professor in the department of biomedical informatics at the Ohio State University Medical Center. “Enhanced supercomputer resources complement the significant investments Ohio and OSU already have made in biomedical research, especially in informatics.”

Expected to be fully operational by summer, the total expanded system will increase in computing capacity from 22 teraflops to 75 teraflops and more than double available memory, from 8.4 terabytes to 24 terabytes. 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.

The expansion will add 5,328 processing cores housed within 600 nodes; combined, there will be more than 9,500 processing cores on the IBM Cluster 1350 available to researchers. Each node in the expansion provides 24 gigabytes (24 billion bytes) of memory. The expansion also adds 300 terabytes of workspace storage, complementing the Center’s existing robust mass storage capabilities.

Qualified researchers interested in obtaining an OSC account to access the new system can visit www.osc.edu/supercomputing for instructions.

The Ohio Supercomputer Center is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries that provides a reliable high performance computing infrastructure for a diverse statewide/regional community. Funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, 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.

Subjects: