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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Research supercomputer makes Top 500 list

    Mississippi State is home to one of the most powerful supercomputers at American universities.
    A list of the “Top 500 Supercomputing Sites” named the Engineering Research Center’s new Mavrick supercomputer 16th among American universities.
    The list, which was released by the universities of Tennessee and Mannheim, also places Maverick 158th in the world, said Roger Smith, ERC senior systems administrator.
    While many institutions make their research processing power available to outside researchers, Maverick will be used almost solely by MSU faculty and students, said Joe Thompson, an aerospace instructor and director of the ERC’s Center for Department of Defense Programming Environment and Training.
    “In the ERC we don’t have the mission to serve the country with our computing power, we have the mission to serve MSU faculty and students,” Thompson said.
    “MSU has traditionally been in the Top 500 and we intend to continue playing at that level in the future,” Thompson added.
    Smith said the supercomputer was installed in November, and its size was dictated by the funds available. He compared its size to 400 top-of-the-line desktop computers.
    “The Maverick is the speed of 400 high-end desktops,” Smith said. “The supercomputer is made up of 384 processors in 192 dual processor sub-units connected by an InfiniBand network.”
    Maverick has 480 Gigabytes of RAM and is almost four times the speed of the center’s previous supercomputer, said Trey Breckenridge, high performance computing resources and operations administrator.
    Breckenridge said the computer performs 1.389 trillion calculations per second, compared to its predecessor’s 366 billion calculations per second.
    The new computer cost more than $1 million, and its status on the list of “Top 500” will benefit the university through extending research capabilities and raising the university’s status in the field, Thompson said.
    “Overall, the impact is to place the university among the top computing powers in the country,” Thompson said. “The computer will be used by all departments who are involved in advanced research including physics, chemistry, mathematics and all engineering departments.”
    Breckenridge said that although Maverick’s predecessor was also previously listed on the “Top 500” list, several improvements were made.
    “The primary improvement is that it is substantially faster and has more memory than our previous supercomputer system,” Breckenridge said.
    The computer is also the fastest to use an innovative type of network, Smith said.
    Maverick is the fastest cluster style supercomputer to use an Infiniband network, Smith said. “We are very much on the forefront of proving the network’s capabilities.”
    The Infiniband network is ideal for an institution with the goal of remaining at the top of computing power lists because it is easy to upgrade for future expansion of the system, Smith said.

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    Research supercomputer makes Top 500 list