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High-speed science
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  High-speed Science

Introduction by Arthur Page
Stories by Ellen Goldbaum

  dell cluster
  Part of the Dell cluster located in UB's Center for Computational Research (CCR).

  Photo courtesy of the UB Center for Computational Research, Adam Koniak and Martins Innus, photographers

The University at Buffalo’s Center for Computational Research (CCR) is now on a list of the world’s top supercomputing centers, thanks to two clusters of Dell computers comprising more than 2,300 network servers and weighing 55 tons.

Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computing Corporation, was on campus in September to dedicate one PC cluster being used by researchers with the UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics. The second cluster, available for general high-end scientific computing, was showcased by Dell at the nation’s top supercomputing conference.

The Dell clusters provide supercomputing capabilities at a fraction of the cost of traditional supercomputers. And they can solve calculations at almost unimaginably fast speeds. If the computing powers of both clusters were combined to focus on the same calculation, for example, they could solve in a single day the amount of data it would take a high-end personal computer about 15 years to process.

Together, the new clusters have thrust UB into position as the world’s eighth largest supercomputing site and the largest at a university. Both clusters are located in—and supplement the already imposing supercomputing power of—UB’s Center for Computational Research.

The Dell clusters have provided an 18-fold jump in CCR’s computing power, taking the center’s total capacity from one-half of one teraflop to approximately nine teraflops. One teraflop is a measure of computing speed equal to one trillion numeric operations per second. This is a major boost for all of UB’s researchers.

What follows is a sampling of different sciences being pursued with the acquisition of these cutting-edge tools.

Arthur Page is director of University News Services.

Ellen Goldbaum is senior science editor, University News Services.

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