Carter cluster shows ability to accelerate research jobs, capacity still available

April 23, 2012

Capacity in Purdue’s latest community cluster is still available and the new research supercomputer is now in full production. Purdue faculty researchers using the Carter cluster report that it can significantly speed up time to results for many research applications and enable more complex simulations.

Carter features HP compute nodes with two eight-core Intel Xeon E-5 “Sandy Bridge” processors, 16 cores per node, 32 gigabytes of RAM, a 500 GB system disk and 56 gigabits per second InfiniBand interconnects. More details are available on the Carter cluster information website. To order, visit the Carter cluster order website.

Purdue partnered with Intel, HP and Mellanox, which makes the fast networking system tying the Carter cluster together, to build the new supercomputer with next-generation components. Carter ranked 54th on the latest TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers and was among the half dozen most powerful machines at U.S. academic institutions. The cluster was the most powerful on a U.S. campus where research computing facilities are not part of a federally funded laboratory.

“The results have been encouraging,” says Alina Alexeenko, a Carter user and assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics. “Basically, it’s about three times faster than what we have now.”

Through community clustering, ITaP pools internal and external funds to make more computing power available for Purdue research projects than faculty and campus units could afford individually. Carter joins four other community clusters built at Purdue since 2008, which have delivered more than a half billion research computing hours to faculty and their students.

ITaP’s Rosen Center for Advanced Computing installs, administers and maintains the community clusters, including security, sofware updates and user support, so researchers can concentrate on doing research rather than on running a high-performance computing system.

Community clustering also maximizes the use of resources by sharing computing power researchers use only part of the time with their peers, who can make use of it during what might otherwise be idle time. Faculty partners always have ready access to the computing power they purchase, and potentially more if they need it.

Carter is named for Dennis Carter, a retired Intel vice president and Purdue alumnus who developed the innovative "Intel Inside" marketing campaign.

Writer: Greg Kline, science and technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), 765-494-8167 (office), 765-426-8545 (mobile), gkline@purdue.edu

Originally posted: April 23, 2012