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ARSC Included in $45 Million Defense Department Award


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 3, 2010

CONTACT: Debra Damron, ARSC information officer, 907-450-8662, damron@arsc.edu

Fairbanks, Alaska—The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has acquired new supercomputing resources under a $45 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense to Seattle-based supercomputer manufacturer Cray Inc. ARSC is the sole provider of open research computing capabilities for the Defense Department’s High Performance Computing Modernization Program. ARSC will receive an 11,648-computer core Cray supercomputer. ARSC also operates a 3,456-core Cray XT5 named Pingo, and a 2,312-processor Sun Opteron cluster called Midnight. In addition to ARSC, the $45 million award to Cray provides for the purchase of new high-performance computing machines at Defense Department centers in Mississippi and Ohio.

The new Cray for ARSC will be installed later this year in the National Petascale Computing Facility at the University of Illinois and remotely operated by ARSC staff from Fairbanks. The facility, now in its final phase of construction, is run by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. The new ARSC supercomputer is considered by Cray to be one of its next-generation supercomputing systems, code-named “Baker.” It will feature a new interconnect chipset, known as “Gemini,” as well as enhanced system software to boost performance and productivity.

In addition to the ARSC supercomputer, the National Petascale Computing Facility will house Blue Waters, a massive supercomputer funded by the National Science Foundation that will be capable of performing quadrillions of calculations every second.

“We think this partnership with one of the largest academic supercomputing centers in the U.S. provides the modernization program and its users with more opportunities for collaboration and shared use of technologies co-located at NCSA,” said ARSC director Frank Williams.

NCSA director Thom Dunning is also supportive of the new partnership.

“This cooperative arrangement with ARSC opens up exciting opportunities for further collaboration between our two centers, and potentially between NCSA and the Department of Defense,” he said. “We look forward to working with ARSC to use our expertise and experience to help the scientists and engineers supported by DOD meet their research goals,” Dunning said.

The partnership with NCSA is also expected to provide the Defense Department’s High Performance Computing Modernization Program with a venue conducive to developing strategic opportunities with other federal agencies, and especially the National Science Foundation, according to ARSC director Williams. “ARSC continues to take a leadership role in connecting academic, research, computing and defense communities with the computers, data storage systems, high-speed networks and next-generation experimental systems necessary for discovery in engineering and science,” he said.

“It also provides significant growth and sustainment opportunities for ARSC,” Williams said. “Running the new Cray remotely frees up much-needed space and high-demand power supplies so that we can install and operate new academic supercomputing systems here in Fairbanks.” Earlier this year, ARSC announced that, in partnership and collaboration with researchers at UAF and the University of Hawaii, a new supercomputer and a new data storage system funded by a National Science Foundation cyberinfrastructure grant will be installed in the Butrovich Building this spring. Those and related systems support more than 280 UAF researchers whose work would not be possible without the use of ARSC supercomputing resources.

Supercomputing resources at ARSC are used by a global community of researchers, within the U.S. Defense Department, the University of Alaska and other locations to advance scientific discovery for national competitiveness, global security and economic success.  Projects include study of the world's oceans, which include creating models that predict the force and direction of tsunami waves, the impact of changes to the marine ecosystem on the Alaska fishing industry or the potential for ice-free summers in the Arctic.

ON THE WEB:
National Center for Supercomputing Applications http://www.ncsa.illinois.edu
NCSA Petascale Facility http://www.ncsa.illinois.edu/AboutUs/Facilities/npcf.html
Blue Waters www.ncsa.illinois.edu/BlueWaters/
DoD High Performance Modernization Program http://www.hpcmo.hpc.mil/
Cray Inc. http://investors.cray.com/

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