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New Iowa State supercomputer, Cystorm, unleashes 28.16 trillion calculations per second
Date:8/21/2009

AMES, Iowa Srinivas Aluru recently stepped between the two rows of six tall metal racks, opened up the silver doors and showed off the 3,200 computer processor cores that power Cystorm, Iowa State University's second supercomputer.

And there's a lot of raw power in those racks.

Cystorm, a Sun Microsystems machine, boasts a peak performance of 28.16 trillion calculations per second. That's five times the peak of CyBlue, an IBM Blue Gene/L supercomputer that's been on campus since early 2006 and uses 2,048 processors to do 5.7 trillion calculations per second.

Aluru, the Ross Martin Mehl and Marylyne Munas Mehl Professor of Computer Engineering and the leader of the Cystorm project, said the new machine also scores high on a more realistic test of a supercomputer's actual performance: 15.44 trillion calculations per second compared to CyBlue's 4.7 trillion per second. That measure makes Cystorm 3.3 times more powerful than CyBlue.

Those performance numbers, however, do not earn Cystorm a spot on the TOP500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers. (When CyBlue went online three years ago, it was the 99th most powerful supercomputer on the list.)

"Cystorm is going to be very good for data-intensive research projects," Aluru said. "The capabilities of Cystorm will help Iowa State researchers do new, pioneering research in their fields."

The supercomputer is targeted for work in materials science, power systems and systems biology.

Aluru said materials scientists will use the supercomputer to analyze data from the university's Local Electrode Atom Probe microscope, an instrument that can gather data and produce images at the atomic scale of billionths of a meter. Systems biologists will use the supercomputer to build gene networks that will help researchers understand how thousands of genes interact with each other. Power systems researchers will use the supercomputer to study the security, r
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Contact: Srinivas Aluru
aluru@iastate.edu
515-294-3539
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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