“Ranger” Supercomputer Now Available to Researchers at Texas Higher Education Institutions

July 23, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — "Ranger," one of the largest open science computing systems in the world, is now available to researchers at all Texas higher education institutions, according to the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin.

Ranger went into full production on Feb. 4. The Sun Constellation system was recently upgraded with even faster AMD Quad-Core OpteronTM processors and now boasts a peak performance of 579.4 trillion calculations per second.

"TACC's mission is to enhance science and society with supercomputing nationwide and globally, and we are committed to ensuring that Texas researchers have opportunities to achieve these goals," Jay Boisseau, TACC director, said. "Through resources like Ranger and Lonestar, and via collaborations with the High Performance Computing Across Texas consortium and the Lonestar Education and Research Network, we are able to provide leading-edge computing technologies and expertise to researchers across the Lone Star state."

Ranger will benefit the state of Texas by providing Texas higher education institutions, including private institutions, community colleges and minority-serving institutions, with five percent of the system, about 25 million central processing unit hours, over Ranger's four-year lifetime.

Chris Hempel, TACC's associate director of User Services, said these allocations give the higher education community in Texas the opportunity to learn about and use this resource even if a researcher lacks experience on high-performance computing (HPC) systems.

"Ranger is an HPC system with unprecedented computational capabilities," Hempel said. "We highly encourage researchers to explore and learn relevant ways to use this high-end tool to solve specific problems and to enable scientific discovery more broadly."

"When the researcher advances to needing a larger allocation, he or she can become a TeraGrid user and have even more advanced computing tools at their disposal, such as other HPC systems, visualization systems and advanced display environments, massive storage systems, and grid computing technologies," Hempel continued.

Three types of Ranger Allocations are available to researchers in the Texas higher education community:

  • Startup: Provides up to 50,000 CPU hours for one quarter. May be repeated once. Designed for researchers who would like to gain experience with Ranger and to prepare for larger requests.Startup project allocations provide the principal investigator with an adequate allocation to gather the data necessary to apply for a research project.
  • Instructional: Provides up to 100,000 CPU hours for two quarters. Instructional project allocations support academic classes with limited allocation sizes.
  • Research: Provides up to 500,000 CPU hours for one year and the ability to request up to one million CPU hours by special arrangement. Multi-year research project allocations can be granted as part of proposal submission by negotiation with TACC during proposal preparation.

User support via the TACC User Portal

In addition to allocations on Ranger, users in Texas will receive support through documentation available on the TACC User Portal, information about classes taught by TACC senior staff in Austin or at remote locations, access to the Ranger Virtual Workshops and help desk support via the TACC Consulting system. The TACC User Portal is available online.

How do researchers apply?

Any researcher at any Texas higher education institution can submit an allocation request for computing cycles on Ranger. The review will be based on the following criteria: 1) research/education merit; 2) team capability and expertise for using the system; 3) the opportunity for scientific impact in Texas; and 4) the level of support needed. To create a project and submit an allocation request, visit the "New Users" page on the TACC home page.

All researchers, Texas and nationwide, can also apply for Ranger allocations through the national TeraGrid allocations process. Request a DAC. Consulting questions may be submitted via the TeraGrid User Portal.

For more information, contact: Faith Singer-Villalobos, Texas Advanced Computing Center, 512 232 5771.