The University of Texas at Austin
  • TACC dedicates most powerful supercomputer

    By Faith Singer-Villalobos
    Faith Singer-Villalobos
    Published: March 6, 2008

    Ranger, the most powerful supercomputing system in the world for open science research was dedicated Feb. 22 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). This first-of-its-kind system entered full production on Feb. 4.

    Ranger’s deployment marks the beginning of the Petascale Era in high-performance computing (HPC) where systems will approach a thousand trillion floating point operations per second and manage a thousand trillion bytes of data.

    Ranger is the largest HPC computing resource on the NSF TeraGrid, a nationwide network of academic HPC centers that provides scientists and researchers access to large-scale computing power and resources. Ranger will provide more than 500 million processor hours of computing time to the science community, performing more than 200,000 years of computational work over its four-year lifetime.

    “Ranger is the first of the new ‘Path to Petascale’ systems that NSF provides to open science. It is out in front on the pathway to sustained petascale performance,” said Daniel Atkins, director of the NSF’s Office of Cyberinfrastructure. “This system and others to come underscore NSF’s commitment to world-class, high-performance computing ensuring that the U.S. is a leader in computational science. No longer used by a handful of elite researchers in a few research communities on select problems, advanced computing has become essential to the way science and engineering research and education are accomplished.”

    Ranger is a collaboration among TACC, the university’s Institute for Computational and Engineering Sciences (ICES), Sun Microsystems, Advanced Micro Devices, Arizona State University and Cornell University. The $59 million award covers the system and four years of operating costs.

    TACC Director Jay Boisseau said, “Ranger provides incredible new capabilities for computational researchers across the nation and world. Its computational power, memory and storage capacity greatly exceed anything the open science community has had access to. It takes tremendous expertise to deploy and support research on such a system as well as to use it effectively, but it is an awesome honor and responsibility for us at TACC. Together with our partners, we are excited about fulfilling the promise of Ranger by helping researchers achieve breakthrough science across domains and disciplines —discoveries that will really change the world as well as our understanding of it.”

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