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CARC completes major expansion of Main Machine Room

December 8, 2015 – After a year of design, planning and construction, the Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) completed the renovation and expansion of its Main Machine Room (MMR) in preparation for the installation of the Ulam supercomputer donated by Los Alamos National Laboratory. The upgraded machine room facility and installation of the Ulam supercomputer gives University of New Mexico students access to the kind of computing power that was once only available in the State of New Mexico at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The expansion and upgrade involved approximately 30 engineers and systems analysts from several different organizations: UNM CARC, UNM PPD Engineering, UNM Physical Plant (PPD), Klinger Construction, Assurance Engineering, Hewlett-Packard, Comfort Systems USA Inc., Liebert Corporation, NGH Power Systems, EMI, and the Public Service Company of New Mexico.

To complete the last phase of construction, it was necessary to power down all electronic systems, supercomputers, ~1 Petabyte mass Research Storage Consortium (RSC), backup systems, network infrastructure, and firewall. All systems were restored without incident after an hour-long shutdown.

 “It’s amazing how smoothly everything went. We organized over 30 various contractors to do all the essential work in one 24-hour period to minimize downtime for our machines and users,” said Dr. Ryan Johnson, CARC Applications Scientist.

 The $300,000 budget for the project was funded by CARC, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Vice President of Research. Assurance Engineering designed the upgrade and PPD Engineering refined the design to maximize the full space capacity of the data center facility.

Enhancements to the Main Machine Room include a new 30-ton Liebert computer room air conditioning unit, an uninterruptable power source (UPS), electrical upgrades, and a hot aisle containment system. In the event of an outage, the UPS will supply the supercomputers with enough electricity to allow a safe shutdown procedure.

Cooling and humidifying the room and providing stable and safe power made it possible for CARC to house both the Ulam supercomputer, used primarily for bioinformatics research, and Xena, the fastest supercomputer at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Xena has an extremely advanced architecture that utilizes both computer processing unit and graphical processing unit capabilities and uses exciting advances in hybrid-parallel computing.

For further information on the Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC), visit or contact the director at



Center for Advanced Research Computing

MSC01 1190
1601 Central Ave. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

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