Tours of new high-tech home for Carter cluster set

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August 28, 2013

Faculty and staff will have two opportunities in September to tour the new high-tech home of Purdue’s powerful Carter supercomputer, a portable, self-contained, modular computer center similar to those used by industry giants such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, not to mention the U.S. military in combat theaters.

Purdue is one of the first universities to make use of containerized computer centers like the University’s HP-built POD (short for Performance-optimized Data Center), the Carter community cluster’s new home.

ITaP will conduct tours of the POD from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, and 1:30-2:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20. Those taking a tour will meet in the main lobby of Freehafer Hall. To register email Shirley Skeel, For more information contact Donna Cumberland,

The tours will explain the concept of a containerized data center and cover features of the Purdue POD in particular, including security and energy efficiency features.

On the outside the POD may look like a shipping container deposited behind a security fence at the Purdue power plant, but it’s what’s inside that counts — a full-featured modern computer center linked to the central campus with high-speed fiber optics, making everything work like Carter is sitting in the middle of campus.

The move makes room in the Mathematical Sciences Building for future supercomputers at Purdue, among them Purdue’s new Conte supercomputer, the fastest supercomputer for use by faculty at one school in the country. ITaP Research Computing (RCAC) is readying Conte for faculty use this fall.

Carter, built in partnership with Intel in 2011, ranked 175th on the latest TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers in June and seventh among U.S. campus supercomputers. The POD is a worthy new home for a top-flight supercomputer. The modular computer center is state-of-the-art technologically, cost- and space-efficient and secure with its location behind a fence at a site where Purdue physical facilities staff members are present 24/7. Surveillance cameras and an alarm system also protect it.

The facility offers big cost advantages over a new building, a building expansion or a building refit to accommodate new supercomputers — and advantages in operations costs and energy consumption as well. The modular computer center is highly energy efficient, even making use of Indiana’s chilly winter temperatures for wintertime air conditioning.

Originally posted: August 28, 2013