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San Diego Supercomputer Center Launches 'Triton Resource'


The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, has officially launched the Triton Resource, an integrated, data-intensive computing system primarily designed to support UC San Diego and UC researchers.

The Triton Resource -- which features some of the most extensive data analysis power available commercially or at any research institution in the country because of its unique large-memory nodes -- also will be available to researchers throughout the larger academic community, as well as private industry and government-funded organizations. Plans for the new system were first announced last fall, as SDSC formally opened a new building and data center that doubled the size of the existing supercomputer center to 160,000 square feet.

According to Arthur B. Ellis, vice chancellor for research for UC San Diego, the Triton Resource "is specifically intended to promote collaborative research across the entire campus and the UC system, serving as a catalyst for new ideas, innovation and interdisciplinary research." Named after the mythical sea god and his three-pronged trident, the Triton Resource consists of three key components:

  • Triton Compute Cluster (TCC): Designed as a centralized resource and a highly affordable alternative to less energy-efficient 'closet computers,' Triton's scalable cluster is configured to operate either in a standard batch mode, or be set up so users can run customized software stacks at scale, with full connectivity to large-scale storage. Using Appro International's GreenBlade server series, and Nehalem processors from Intel Corporation, Triton's TCC has an aggregate of 6 terabytes (TB) of RAM memory across 256 nodes, while offering a peak performance of 24 teraflops (TF). One terabyte equals one trillion bytes of storage capacity, while one teraflop equals one trillion calculations per second.
  • Petascale Data Analysis Facility (PDAF): Specifically configured to meet researchers' needs to efficiently process extremely large data sets, Triton's PDAF consists of large-memory (20 256GB and eight 512GB) 32-core nodes, providing some of the most extensive data analysis power available commercially or at any research institution in the country. The Petascale Data Analysis Facility's unique architecture permits a single node to be filled in about 60 seconds, so that large-scale data sets can quickly and easily be brought into memory, manipulated and written out to disk. Coupled to a Lustre parallel file system, this part of the Triton Resource uses Sun Microsystems' Sun Fire X4600 M2 server and Shanghai processors from Advanced Micro Devices, and has an aggregate of 9TB memory across the 28 nodes with a peak speed of 9 TF.
  • Data Oasis: Scheduled to be built in two phases starting this fall to accommodate large-scale disk storage, Data Oasis will assist in the practical manipulation of data across high-bandwidth paths to researchers throughout UC San Diego and the statewide UC system. The system will be configured to provide up to 4 petabytes (PB) of extensible storage when fully deployed -- the largest capacity of any academic data center -- providing between 60 and 120 gigabytes per second of data movement capacity and managing 3,000 to 6,000 individual disks.

The Triton Resource is designed to deliver excellent scaling for parallel message passing codes and a high level of integration with campus, national and international networks. In addition to the 480 Fabric Ports, the core switch includes 32 10 GB/s Ethernet ports, enabling Triton's nodes to direct high-speed network access to other resources outside SDSC. Connectivity for the Triton Resource to UC San Diego campus laboratories is achieved via both production and research (NSF-funded OptIPuter and Quartzite) multi-10 Gigabit networks. Connectivity for UC researchers elsewhere is achieved using a 10 Gigabit Ethernet campus connection to the statewide education network designed and managed by the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC).

As an Organized Research Unit (ORU) of UC San Diego, SDSC is a national leader in creating and providing cyberinfrastructure for data-intensive research. Cyberinfrastructure refers to an accessible and integrated network of computer-based resources and expertise, focused on accelerating scientific inquiry and discovery. SDSC recently doubled its size to 160,000 square feet with a new, energy-efficient building and data center extension, and is a founding member of TeraGrid, the nation's largest open-access scientific discovery infrastructure.


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