Ulam supercomputer installed at CARC after infrastructure upgrade

April 8, 2015 – The Ulam supercomputer is now at home at the University of New Mexico Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) after a massive infrastructure upgrade at the facility.

The computer was donated to CARC in 2014 by Los Alamos National Laboratory for parallel research computing by UNM, New Mexico Tech, and the New Mexico Consortium, an initiative formed to advance scientific research and education in New Mexico. NMC facilitated the transfer of the system, which was originally part of the NMC’s PRObE computer facility.

Before the 120-node Ulam could be installed at CARC, the center had to undergo a massive expansion and upgrade to its cooling and electrical capacity. The final step in the process was a complete shutdown at the street-level transformer of power to the supercomputers, ~1Petabyte mass Research Storage Consortium, backup systems, network infrastructure, and firewall.

 Ulam’s 120 nodes gives CARC a total of 960 additional cores. The supercomputer is connected through InfiniBand, which allows users to run more tightly coupled parallel jobs across a greater number of nodes. This added computing power enables the UNM bioinformatics group to perform more sophisticated work, such as large-scale massively parallel compute jobs, in shorter periods of time.

Ulam runs the Ubuntu operating system, and has advanced bioinformatic capabilities, including the code platform Galaxy, an open web-based platform for data-intensive biomedical research. Ulam contains a multi-terabyte luster scratch file system that allows for parallel access to large files, such as genomic data sets. This gives users the ability to process compute jobs more quickly than they were able to on the traditional scratch file system used at CARC.

The supercomputer is named for the renowned Polish American mathematician  Stanislaw Ulam, who was part of the Manhattan Project, originated the Teller-Ulam design of thermonuclear weapons, co-invented the Monte Carlo method of computation, and suggested nuclear pulse propulsion.

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