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"Pingo" Unveiled: New Supercomputer at ARSC

From left, Arctic Region Supercomputing Center Director Frank Williams, UAF Vice Chancellor for Research Virgil "Buck" Sharpton, UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers and Cray President and CEO Peter Ungaro. Photo by Monique Musick

Virtual ribbon cutting officially dedicates Pingo

Virtual ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo by Monique Musick

By Debra Damron and Mary Haley
Arctic Region Supercomputer Center

The evolution of the Arctic Region Supercomputer Center’s high performance computing machines, from a 4-CPU Cray YMP named Denali, to a 3,456-processor Cray XT5 named Pingo, was marked in a ceremony held at the University of Alaska Museum of the North March 5.

Cray Inc. President and CEO Peter Ungaro joined ARSC Director Frank Williams, University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Brian Rogers and UAF Vice Chancellor for Research Virgil “Buck” Sharpton in a virtual ribbon-cutting to dedicate Pingo, the newest supercomputer at ARSC.

More than 70 people attended the dedication ceremony, which was held in the auditorium of the UA Museum. A web feed from the ARSC machine room in the Butrovich Building on the UAF campus connected the audience with ribbon-cutters Greg Newby, ARSC chief scientist, and Kurt Carlson, ARSC systems programmer. Williams asked the audience to join in a countdown from ten to give the signal to Newby and Carlson to cut the ribbon wrapped around Pingo.

Webcasts of the event are available at www.arsc.edu/news/pingo_video.html

 “The addition of Pingo almost quadruples the center's capacity to solve computationally intensive problems of great interest to the state and the nation,” said Williams.

Pingo will allow ARSC to expand studies of atmospheric phenomena such as those that rely on modeling how weather influences volcanic ash transport. Such studies can be used to alert aircraft flying northern polar routes and protect the health and safety of people on the ground. Pingo will also help researchers develop advanced tools for Arctic-specific, high-resolution forecasting to include models of smoke dispersion from wildland fires and the effects of wildfires on the global climate.

“The installation of advanced supercomputing systems at UAF increases Alaska's competitive edge in providing high-performance computing resources to a worldwide community of researchers,” Williams said. “Having Cray president and CEO Peter Ungaro here to help us celebrate the latest acquisition of leading-edge supercomputer technology for ARSC is a milestone.”

ARSC's first supercomputer, a four-processor Cray Y-MP named Denali, came online in 1993. At that time, a Cray was considered one of the fastest supercomputers in the world. Today, with its 3,456 processor cores on 432 nodes, Pingo provides approximately 31.8 teraflops of peak computing power, which means it can perform more than 30 trillion arithmetic calculations a second. Pingo has 13.5 terabytes of memory and 150 terabytes of shared high-speed storage.

The new Cray XT5 replaces Iceberg, ARSC's 800 processor IBM Power 4+ supercomputer. ARSC also operates Midnight, a 2,312 processor Sun Opteron cluster.

ARSC is the sole provider of open-research computing capabilities for the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program. Supercomputers at ARSC are acquired through the DoD HPC modernization program.

HPCMP has six DoD Supercomputing Resource Centers throughout the country: two in Mississippi and one each in Maryland, Ohio, Alaska and Hawaii. ARSC is the only DSRC in the program that is not affiliated with a branch of the military.

Supercomputing resources at ARSC are used by researchers within the U.S. Defense Department, the University of Alaska and other organizations throughout the world to advance scientific discovery for national competitiveness, global security and economic success.

In addition to atmospheric studies, projects include creating models that predict the force and direction of tsunami waves, marine ecosystem changes and their effects on the Alaska fishing industry or the potential for ice-free summers in the Arctic.

ARSC provides high-performance computing systems, data storage systems, visualization, software, security and high-bandwidth communications in support of research identified as critical state and national priorities. ARSC computational scientists and HPC systems specialists provide training for new and existing users, tailored consulting and support for successful use of ARSC resources to address computing needs beyond the capabilities of conventional computers.

ARSC is an active collaborator with HPC users and parallel computing experts worldwide to provide early adoption and assessment of software tools. Outreach efforts include student and intern programs in computational science, and hosting a wide range of public, academic, scientific and school tours at the center's Discovery Lab.

ARSC has a history of naming supercomputing systems with arctic themes. A pingo is an earth-covered ice hill formed by the upward expansion of underground ice. Pingos tend to form in permafrost environments and can reach heights of up to 230 feet.

CONTACT: UAF ARSC Communications Director Debra Damron, 907.450.8662 or damron@arsc.edu.

Click here to download PDF "Evolution" the history of supercomputing at UA

OIT Tip of the Month: Outlook

Have you ever wanted to send a message out to just part of a distribution list? The following tip from Microsoft explains how to edit a distribution list to delete those members you do not want to send an e-mail to.

Send a message to part of a distribution list

Open a new message.

Click To, and then in the Search box, type the name of the distribution list.

In the Name list, single-click the name to highlight it, click To to place it in the "To" line, and then click OK.

You may have used the More columns search option the last time that you used the Address Book. To restore the name list view, click Name only next to Search.

In the message, in the To box, click the plus sign (+) next to the name of the distribution list to show the list members, and then delete the names that you do not want the message sent to.

Note– When you expand the list, the distribution list name is replaced in the message's To line with all the individual names on the list. You cannot collapse the list again in a message once it's been expanded.


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