Wednesday, March 16, 2005

UCSD installs a New supercomputer (Cluster/Grid)

The new cluster, which was purchased from Dell for less than $180,000 per Teraflops (trillion floating point operations per second), is a distributed-memory parallel computer. It is valued not only for its speed, but also because its 428 gigabytes of memory capacity and 20 terabytes of storage will enable researchers to solve ever larger and more sophisticated problems. "It's not always just a matter of computational speed with some of our models -- some are memory limited," said McCulloch. "For example, our models of the propogation of an electrical impulse thorough the heart wall require us to generate matricies with millions of individual cells, and our ability to solve such problems is limited by the memory available. This new cluster will enable completely new simulations of the heart and other biological systems."
"No single computational model spans all these biological scales, but this powerful new cluster will enable us to integrate models over many of these scales, which will make it possible for us to predict, in some cases, the clinical consequences of specific genetic mutations or biochemical alterations caused by disease," said Andrew McCulloch, a professor and vice chair of the Jacobs School's Department of Bioengineering. He celebrated the installation of the cluster at a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 9 in the basement of Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall with fellow project co-leader Peter Arzberger, principal investigator and director of the National Biomedical Computational Resource (NBCR), a program funded by the National Institutes of Health, and director of Life Sciences Initiatives at UCSD.
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