Old Supercomputers Never Die, They Just Get Repurposed Share your comment!


Instead of retiring its five-year-old Gordon supercomputer, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) has struck a deal with a New York-based research institute that will use the aging, but still fast system for scientific research.

SDSC has reached a two-year agreement to allow the Simons Foundation’s Flatiron Institute to use the Gordon supercomputer for research in astrophysics, biology, condensed matter physics, material science and other areas, according to a recent SDSC press release.

The Intel Xeon-based supercomputer, which currently reaches 336 teraflops-per-second speeds, was once the 48th fastest supercomputer in the world.  It was one of the first high-performance computing systems to use massive amounts of flash-based memory.

Gordon was a key resource for the National Science Foundation’s XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) project. In its five years, more than 2,000 command-line users and 7,000 gateway users have taken advantage of the system, the press release said. The Flatiron institute will gain access to 90 percent of Gordon’s system capacity once the supercomputer completes its NSF duties on March 31.

The Flatiron Institute, which will take over Gordon on April 1, will have an option to extend the contract for a third year after the two-year agreement is completed, the release said.

“We are excited to have a big boost to the processing capacity for our researchers and to work with the strong team from San Diego,” said Ian Fisk, co-director of the Flatiron Institute’s Scientific Computing Core (SCC).

The Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics (CCA) will use Gordon to simulate the evolution and growth of galaxies and analyze large astronomy-related data sets, said CCA Director David Spergel.

“Gordon offers us a powerful platform for attacking these challenging computational problems,” Spergel said in the release.

SDSC Director Michael Norman said he’s happy that the Simons Foundation has given Gordon a new lease on life.

“We welcome the foundation as a new partner and consider this to be a solid testimony regarding Gordon’s data-intensive capabilities and its myriad contributions to advancing scientific discovery,” Norman said in the release.


Posted on March 30, 2017 by Wylie Wong, Slashdot Media Contributing Editor