SGI Gear to Power Stephen Hawking’s Research

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SGI flexed its HPC (High Performance Computing) muscles recently with announcements for large research deals.

Life, the universe and everything
On Wednesday SGI announced that the UK Computational Cosmology Consortium (COSMOS), based at the University of Cambridge, has selected SGI Altix UV 1000 to support its research. Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking is the principal investigator for COSMOS, where the SGI system will be used to help cosmologists answer questions at the foundation of our understanding of how the universe came to be, what it is made of and how it has evolved and what the future holds.

“The new Altix UV system gives us a strategic advantage as we seek to advance the confrontation between fundamental and observational cosmology, especially using Planck satellite data,” said Professor Paul Shellard, director, COSMOS. “This flexible, scalable and cost-effective architecture will ensure that COSMOS maintains international leadership.”

SGI has agreed to collaborate with COMOS by helping with parallel programmer support, code porting to the Altix UV platform and assisting COSMOS researchers with applications and future strategic projects following the Altix UV installation. The Altix UV will support a range of mixed workloads for COSMOS with its ability to have up to 16 terabytes of global shared memory and Intel Xeon processors that can number as high as 2,048 cores.

DARPA’s exascale dreams
On Thursday SGI announced that they are partnering with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Intel and other industry leaders to develop a future computing architecture that will overcome the limitations of the currently evolutionary approach. DARPA’s objective of reinventing computing with new architectures and programming models that require less energy per computation will be carried out through their Ubiquitous HPC (UHPC) program. Prototype UHPC systems are expected to be complete by 2018.

“SGI is pleased to partner with DARPA and Intel on this groundbreaking program that promises to have far reaching implications for the supercomputing industry,” said Dr. Eng Lim Goh, senior vice president and chief technology officer at SGI. “To achieve the objectives of the DARPA UHPC program, we need to rethink how we are designing and building supercomputers. We look forward to a collaborative research environment that will result in major advances that redefine our industry.”

SGI had 17 supercomputers on the June 2010 Top500 list, including the number six spot with Pleiades, an Altix ICE 8200EX/8400EX system at NASA/Ames Research Center.

About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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