Information Technology News
New Computing Cluster Arrives
Note: This story may not be current. It is part of the IT News Archive, and exists as a historical document.
Information Technology, in collaboration with the Texas Learning and Computation Center (TLC2), recently implemented a new computing cluster now operating at the Research Computing Center (RCC).
Certain to benefit researchers, the cluster is available to all researchers and serves as a core research facility. Initially the cluster will serve researchers in the Departments of Biology and Biochemistry, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, the Cullen College of Engineering, and researchers affiliated with TLC2.
The operating system used for the cluster, Red Hat Linux, offers a tremendous range of functionality and is available for use on research systems through the campus site license, according to Keith Crabb, interim manager of High Performance Computing (HPC).
Developed at a cost of $200,000, the cluster contains 82 Sun servers. Models include Sun X2200 and Sun X4600 series servers equipped with AMD 2.3 Gigahertz processors and a combination of Ethernet and Infiniband networking. Infiniband networking is 20 times faster than Ethernet.
Known as “Maxwell,” the cluster honors the memory of Scottish mathematician and theoretical physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who developed classical electromagnetic theory. He synthesized all previous unrelated observations, experiments and equations of electricity, magnetism, and even optics into a consistent theory. UH scientist David Francis, Ph.D., a quantitative psychologist, named the cluster after Maxwell. The Maxwell cluster replaces a six-year-old Intel-based cluster, named Beowulf.
Maxwell offers a better computing solution than Beowulf, according to Jeff Sarlo, Systems Administrator 3 in HPC.
“It runs faster, has increased capacity for networking, more central processing units and more memory,” Sarlo said.
The cluster augments the resources of the RCC, which include 591 hosted computing systems. The center also provides a high quality common infrastructure researchers can use to conduct research requiring access to high performance systems.
TLC2 fosters and supports interdisciplinary research, education and training in computational sciences and engineering through centers, laboratories and individual faculty initiatives. TLC2 has state-of-the-art computation, visualization and educational facilities for environmental studies, biological, biomedical and energy research, undergraduate and graduate education and teacher training.