Energy lab buys Linux supercomputer

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has bought a new a 256-processor SGI supercomputer for scientific simulations that require huge data sets.

Computational biology and global climate change are two research areas that will benefit from the new system, said Thomas Zacharia, associate director of the Energy Department lab.

Oak Ridge's Center for Computational Sciences works closely with vendors to evaluate new computer architectures for handling data-intensive applications, and the acquisition of the SGI computer is part of that effort, Zacharia said.

The new system, an SGI Altix 3000, will contain the most recent generation of 64-bit Intel Itanium 2 processors and 2T of global shared memory.

The lab also acquired an SGI Total Performance 9100 RAID storage system, which will provide more than 12T of direct-attached storage to the Altix system.

Delivery of the SGI Altix is expected soon, Zacharia said. Oak Ridge officials did not want the supercomputer to arrive until after the computational center's new 300,000-square-foot building, with its 40,000-square-foot computer room, was ready. It opened last week.

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