New York University today announced that it has installed and begun to make use of a new IBM eServer BladeCenter system capable of peak performance of 4.5 TeraFlops. According to the TOP500 List, a ranking of supercomputers published at www.top500.org, NYU’s supercomputer is the fastest in New York City and the 117th fastest supercomputer in the world. The acquisition of this supercomputer was made possible by a gift from IBM and federal funding. Operations began in the middle of May.

The new system will support NYU research with heavy computational requirements. Among the research enterprises that will be early beneficiaries of the new system are the Center for Atmosphere-Ocean Science in the Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences, which is developing sophisticated models to study the behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, and a collaborative effort between the Center for Comparative Functional Genomics and the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences on genomics and bioinformatics.

David McLaughlin, NYU’s provost, said, “The Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences is world-renowned for the strength of its scholarship in mathematics and computer science. NYU had an important and prominent role in the development of computers from their initiation. This technology will not only be a tremendous resource for a number of our faculty in areas of scientific research at the University, but also help build on our role as an important center for computation in science and society. We are grateful to IBM for their generosity, and to the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for their support of our research.”

Marilyn McMillan, associate provost and chief information technology officer of NYU, said, “IBM’s off-the-shelf blade server technology allowed us to easily connect a cluster of systems and solve the challenge of building a supercomputer in valuable space here in the City. By leveraging IBM’s POWER5 microprocessor technology with Linux, we are able to tap into a 64-bit computing platform that will greatly speed the research process and help our researchers to more rapidly turn scientific theory into real-world benefits to society. This supercomputer re-establishes NYU’s position of leadership in high performance computing.” Dave Turek, vice president of Deep Computing at IBM, said, “The innovative design of IBM’s BladeCenter systems has revolutionized high performance computing, offering organizations such as NYU the option to scale-out its infrastructure in a space-saving manner without sacrificing power or performance. We’re looking forward to working with NYU on a powerful, state-of-the-art clustered supercomputing solution that will help the Courant Institute and other parts of the University maintain leadership in scientific research and help make IBM’s JS20 systems the platform of choice for high performance computing applications.”

The supercomputer is capable of a peak performance of more than 4.5 TeraFlops, and consists of a cluster of 256 IBM eServer BladeCenter JS20 systems running Linux, each with two, 2.2 GHz PowerPC 970 processors, or 512 processors in total. It is the first supercomputer in the United States that is using IPv6, the next generation Internet Protocol. IBM’s joint test center project with NYU will consist of 64 IBM eServer BladeCenter JS20 systems (128 processors) running Linux, and capable of peak performance of more than 1 TeraFlop. Myrinet switch technology connects each cluster of the BladeCenter systems.

One of the NYU research enterprises already designated to make use of the new supercomputing system is the Center for Atmosphere-Ocean Science in the Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences (http://caos.cims.nyu.edu/page/home). The Center uses computational modeling to simulate atmospheric circulation and oceanic currents. The acquisition of the supercomputer, supported in part by the Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research, will help researchers combine theory, mathematical analysis, and numerical models to better understand the Earth’s climate, including the impacts of weather events such as thunderstorms and hurricanes, coupled atmospheric and oceanic oscillations such as El Niño, and oceanic currents like the Gulf Stream and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

The supercomputer will also help foster a research program in genomics at NYU, enhancing collaboration between the Center for Comparative Functional Genomics and the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Aspects of this research include advanced algorithm and software development for data integration, data mining and visualization, biological network simulation, and high-throughput microscopy. The acquisition of the supercomputer has been supported in part by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC).

IBM is also working with NYU to create a joint test center, where high performance computing application developers can enable, test, and tune their applications and solutions using IBM JS20 systems. This center, comprising a 64-node version of the supercomputer, will be available to developers and will help to promote innovation utilizing IBM’s BladeCenter JS20 and Linux on Power platforms.

IBM is the world’s largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key IBM Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable clients, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.

New York University, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, was established in 1831 and is one of America’s leading research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. It is one of the largest private universities in the US and a leader in attracting international students and scholars in the U.S.; it sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

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