Ohio Supercomputer Center Upgrades BALE Cluster

COLUMBUS, Ohio – January 29, 2007 – Students and researchers using the Ohio Supercomputer Center’s (OSC) BALE Cluster can now enjoy faster rendering for visualizations and improved system stability. OSC's Ralph Regula School of Computational Science (RRSCS) will also be able to use the updated BALE training environment for a variety of computational science education activities. RRSCS is a statewide, virtual school focused on computational science.

OSC recently upgraded its BALE Cluster, a distributed/shared memory hybrid system constructed from commodity PC components running the Linux operating system. The more powerful system resides in a separate server room from OSC’s on-site training facility, eliminating classroom noise and heat generated from the computers. This improved environment allows students to run hands-on exercises faster without distractions.

“The upgrades increase functionality and are specifically designed for a teaching environment,” said Dennis Sessanna, Software Engineer - Virtual Systems. “This upgrade is much more production driven and smaller in size. What’s not in use for training is used for computation and visualization.”

The updated cluster boasts 55 rack-mounted compute nodes. Each node contains a dual core AMD Athlon 64 processor integrated with nVIDIA GeForce 6150 graphics processing units (GPU). An application taking full advantage of the system, using all AMD and nVIDIA processing units, could reach one trillion calculations per second.

In addition to the cluster, BALE serves as a showcase providing a dynamic, flexible training environment for students and researchers. Most training is held in OSC’s BALE multipurpose 1,767 sq. ft. theater, which through its interactive and cutting-edge technologies, is designed to provide a wide range of presentation methods from traditional lectures and workshops to desktop tutorials.

Students and researchers can attend OSC’s workshops at no charge. Workshops range from Parallel Programming with MPI and Using the Mass Storage Environment at OSC, to An Introduction to MATLAB and Scientific Visualization with VTK: The Visualization Toolkit.

And the new BALE Cluster is just the beginning. OSC recently upgraded its high performance computing (HPC) capacity with the acquisition of the IBM Cluster 1350. This new system is projected to be one of the top 50 supercomputers in the world, making OSC among the top 10 academic supercomputing centers. Ten times as powerful as any of OSC’s current systems, the system offers a peak performance of more than 22 trillion floating point operations per second.

For more information about BALE or OSC’s computing resources, visit www.osc.edu/supercomputing.

About OSC
Celebrating 20 years of service, the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries that enables Ohio to compete for international, federal, and state funding, focusing on new research and business opportunities. It provides a reliable high performance computing and high performance networking infrastructure for a diverse statewide/regional community including education, academic research, industry, and state government. 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.

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