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Purdue Accelerates Science and Research with Supercomputer

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The system delivers triple the performance and double the density of Purdue’s 2008 high-performance computing (HPC) platform.

New cancer therapies? Pinpoint tornado predictions? Clearer understanding of how greenhouse gases influence global warming? Scientists at Purdue University say they’re closer to those accomplishments because of the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family and a collaboration with Intel, HP, and Mellanox. Incorporating new capabilities such as Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) and PCI Express* (PCIe) 3.0 I/O integration, Purdue’s 186.9 teraflops (TF) supercomputer ranks 54th on the November 2011 Top500* list of the world’s highest-performing HPC systems and 38th on the Green500* list of the most energy-efficient HPC systems.

Challenge
• Rising demand for HPC resources. With computational science playing a larger role in more fields, Purdue’s award-winning community Cluster Program needs more HPC capacity for professors and students.

Solutions
• Next-generation processors. The Purdue system uses 1,296 Intel Xeon processors E5-2670, which provide 70 percent higher average performance than the previous generation with less energy.
• Balanced platform. Purdue chose an HP Cluster Platform 3000 SL6500* that includes 648 server nodes with dual-socket processors, 32 GB of memory per node, and a new Fourteen Data Rate (FDR) InfiniBand* interconnect from Mellanox.

Impact
• Higher performance and throughput. Purdue technologists say the system gives them three times more performance than their 2008 system and double the throughput.
• Increased scientific productivity. Scientists analyze larger data sets and obtain faster results. They can examine problems more deeply, eliminate false leads more quickly, and arrive at clearer answers sooner.
• Greener data center. The energy-efficient system consumes average total power of 252 kW and ranks 38th on the Green500 list. Purdue reduces its carbon footprint and saves on power and cooling costs.