Chomping data at trillions of “bites” per second

Published: May 7th, 2013

Category: Spotlights

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Using current technology, University of Florida immunologist David Ostrov needs months to conduct a test in search of the safest drugs.

HiPerGator, UF’s new supercomputer, is about to slash that to hours.

“HiPerGator can help drugs get from the computer to the clinic more quickly. We want to discover and deliver safe, effective therapies that protect or restore people’s health as soon as we can,” Ostrov said. “UF’s supercomputer will allow me to spend my time on research instead of computing.

HiPerGator can chomp data at 150 trillion calculations per second.

View the facts about HiPerGator

Put another way, if each calculation were a word, HiPerGator could read all of UF’s library books several hundred times per second

HiPerGator, combined with the new UF Data Center in which it’s housed and the recent tenfold increase in the size of the data pipeline to the off-campus world, has vaulted UF to a place among the nation’s top 10 public universities in research computing infrastructure.

“If we expect our researchers to be at the forefront of their fields, we need to make sure they have the most powerful tools available to science, and HiPerGator is one of those tools,” said UF President Bernie Machen. “The computer removes the physical limitations on what scientists and engineers can discover. It frees them to follow their imaginations wherever they lead.”

Computation infographicIn Ostrov’s case, that means using HiPerGator to test nearly 140,000 drug candidates for adverse effects on 2,800 different types of people without having to deliver a single experimental dose of medicine to a human.

HiPerGator will also enable UF researchers to simulate 50 years’ worth of weather patterns in an attempt to save or even expand the state’s $631 million-a-year tomato industry, which accounts for 45 percent of the nation’s fresh market tomatoes.

It’s not all about speed, though. What distinguishes HiPerGator is its accessibility, not only to those in science, technology, engineering and math – the so-called STEM fields – but to those in every discipline on campus.

What’s more, the computer’s stewards will even train them to harness HiPerGator’s tremendous power.

That accessibility didn’t happen by accident. UF worked with Dell, Terascala, Mellanox, and AMD to build a machine that spreads HiPerGator’s computing power over multiple simultaneous jobs instead of just a single task at warp speed.

“This computer is not just for research rock stars. We want everyone who can expand the knowledge in their field to get a turn on HiPerGator, whether it’s to find a life-saving drug or to track the travels of the pope in the Middle Ages,” said Erik Deumens, UF’s director of research computing. “This is a watershed event for UF, but what’s really exciting is what our great minds will do for the world with the help of this tool.”

To book time on HiPerGator or to request training, visit the UF Research Computing website and click the “Getting Started” quick link at http://wiki.hpc.ufl.edu/doc/Getting_Started .

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