NSF opens bidding for research time on TeraGrid high-performance network

This year's grants will be the last before switch to eXtreme Digital phase

The National Science Foundation has opened applications for the latest quarterly round of grants for time on its TeraGrid high-performance computing infrastructure. Researchers have until Jan. 15 to apply for remote access to a series of supercomputing systems tied together by an advanced network.

The grants, which will be made in March and run from April through March 2011, will be the last that recipients will complete before NSF begins transitioning TeraGrid to its next phase, called eXtreme Digital (XD), in April 2011. Allocations of TeraGrid computing time that NSF will award in June will span both the current TeraGrid and XD. Contracts for managing the new XD infrastructure have not been awarded, but NSF is making plans to help users move projects from TeraGrid resources that will be decommissioned over the next 12 months and onto new XD resources as they become available.

TeraGrid is a partnership between NSF’s Office of Cyberinfrastructure and 11 government, educational and research facilities that make computing time available on 20 supercomputing platforms. It is supported by grid software and high-performance network connections, and provides data storage and management resources, as well as access to the computers themselves. Total current resources exceed 2 petaflops (2,000 trillion floating point operations per second) combined processing power and 60 petabytes of online and archival storage.

Although a number of supercomputers have broken the petaflop barrier and the fastest, Jaguar at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, operates at 2.3 petaflops, TeraGrid allocations still provide access to high-powered computing resources not readily available at many institutions.

In December, NSF’s TeraGrid Resources Allocation Committee awarded 200 million processor hours and nearly 1 petabyte of storage to 100 research teams. Applicants in the current round can request time on 15 TeraGrid systems, as five of the existing systems are scheduled to be decommissioned early this year.

Applicants for the March allocation should use TeraGrid’s online submission system at https://pops-submit.teragrid.org.

Five facilities -- Indiana University, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center at Carnegie Mellon Unversity and Purdue University -- have announced plans to decommission existing platforms from March through June of this year. Two other facilities will decommission platforms in April and July 2011, and the remainder of the TeraGrid platforms will go out of service at dates yet to be announced.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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