ARMONK, N.Y. and BERKELEY, Calif. - 16 Nov 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced today that an IBM System x iDataPlex server will run the Lab's program to explore how cloud computing can be used to advance scientific discovery.
The program, dubbed Magellan, is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Magellan system will be a testbed for National Energy Research Scientific Computing Division (NERSC) scientists to explore the effectiveness of cloud computing for their particular research problems. Ultimately, the project will benefit society by allowing scientists to accelerate discoveries in such disciplines as energy efficiency, climate change and genomics.
The Magellan Project will use IBM's newest iDataPlex dx360 M2 server, which features double the memory and even higher power efficiency than previous versions. Harnessing iDataPlex's innovative half-depth design and liquid-cooled door, clients can lower cooling costs by as much as half and reduce floor space requirements by 30 percent.
The iDataPlex is on the list of most energy efficient computers in the world, the Green500 List(1). Berkeley Lab's iDataPlex system will have a theoretical peak speed of more than 60 teraflops and will be used to explore a set of possible software configurations for science clouds.
While DOE centers operate some of the world's most powerful supercomputers, many researchers do not require such massive computing power. Cloud computing makes it efficient for the Lab to also support scientists with modest-size computing problems.
"Cloud computing has tremendous potential to accelerate scientific discoveries by making computing resources readily available to the masses of scientists. Rather than buying and managing their own cluster, a researcher can simply access a virtual cluster within the cloud. We expect many of the NERSC users to take advantage of Magellan for real scientific work, and at the same time we will be conducting research on how to build and manage science clouds," said Kathy Yelick, head of the NERSC Division at Berkeley Lab. "We evaluated a number of different technologies and concluded that IBM iDataPlex would deliver the best value to complete this important research."
The Magellan research team will deploy a large cloud test bed with 5,760 processor cores on iDataPlex to evaluate a variety of DOE scientific applications, from power grid simulations to nanoparticle analysis and analyzing climate change data.
The Magellan Project will help the DOE determine which scientific applications demonstrate the best performance in the cloud and what software and processes are necessary for those applications to take advantage of cloud services.
(1) According to The Green500 list published as of August 27, 2009. Results and system configuration can be found at http://www.green.500.com.
About NERSC and LBNL
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is the primary high-performance computing facility for scientific research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the DOE Office of Science.
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