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UW Again Boosts High-Performance Computing Capacity

Mount Moran, the centerpiece of UW’s Advanced Research Computing Center. (UW Photo)

When University of Wyoming faculty members return to campus this fall, they will find that super computer “Mount Moran” has significantly boosted its capacity for high-performance computing. More than double, in fact.

“We have 112 new nodes, bringing us to 194 in total and 93.92 Teraflops (counting the graphic processing units),” says Tim Brewer, UW’s end user support manager for information technology. “This puts us just under the top 500 (high-performance computing clusters in terms of capacity) in the U.S.”

A node is conceptually similar to a desktop computer, while a Teraflop is a measure of a computer’s speed and is equivalent to a trillion floating point operations per second.

The high-performance computing cluster, nicknamed “Mount Moran” after a mountain peak in western Wyoming’s Tetons, and a large-scale storage system make up UW’s Advanced Research Computing Center (ARCC).

The campus cluster, which became available for use in November 2012 and has been fully operational since February, serves two purposes. One, it enables atmospheric and earth sciences faculty — who will be able to use the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) — to learn what to expect with their software. The cluster provides the opportunity for that group of faculty to work out issues caused by scaling up parallel algorithms from tens or hundreds of processors to thousands of processors, before moving up to tens of thousands of processors on the NWSC.

Two, the cluster provides a research resource for any UW research faculty — such as bioinformaticists, social scientists, pure mathematicians and theoretical physicists — who have a complex problem or whose research doesn’t fall within the scope of the NWSC.

Currently, 115 University of Wyoming faculty members, collaborators, students and post-doctoral researchers use the high-performance computing center for their research, Brewer says.

“I definitely expected this to be used right away, and it has been,” says Tim Kuhfuss, UW’s director of research support for UW’s Information Technology Center.

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