New Supercomputer Builds Research Capability, Gives Students Unprecedented Access
Monday, 26 September 2011
The University of Canterbury's BlueFern High Performance Computing (HPC) capacity being boosted tenfold with an upgrade to its computer architecture.
BlueFern HPC Unit Director Professor Tim David says the upgrade consists of two parts – a new Power 7 system, which increases by 10 times the capacity of the previous (Power 5 model) and the new IBM BlueGene P.
“This new computing architecture allows us to think and do the previously unthinkable,” says Professor David. “It maintains our status in the international research community and, in coming months will provide Canterbury with a resource that helps us get the region back on its feet.”
“The new architecture gives us more memory and more processing power. It enables us to tackle a big problem and divide it into small but manageable and countable chunks and scales it. Instead of dividing a problem by ten it can be divided by tens of thousands.”
Professor David says as a result of the upgrade the BlueGene L, the supercomputer that has been based at the University since 2007, will be redeployed solely for educational purposes along with a smaller Power 7 system.
“This will put UC in the unique position of being the first university or research establishment in the world to provide a BlueGene supercomputer for student access.”
Since 2009 the University of Canterbury has been offering courses in high performance computing – and was the first tertiary institution in Australasia to do so – but now as part of these courses students will go beyond a theoretical understanding and have dedicated time on a state-of-the-art supercomputer to expand their skills base.