Advanced Linux server and storage solutions are driving chemistry and climate modelling studies within the University of Tasmania (UTAS).
Researchers within UTAS have installed a 128-processor Altix 4700 blade server system with 320Gb memory and a 50Tb InfiniteStorage solution from workstation vendor SGI. The university has also implemented the InfiniteStorage Data Migration Facility (DMF) to streamline data management and availability.
Installed at the University of Tasmania, the server is at the heart of pursuing work related to two Australian Research Council grants that UTAS says would have been difficult to attempt otherwise. The system offers high levels of computational capabilities and is flexible enough to access and manage massive data sets, two crucial issues to UTAS.
Based on Intel Itanium 2 processors, the server and storage solutions comprise modular blades, which are interchangeable, memory, I/O and special purpose blades for so-called ‘plug and solve’ configuration flexibility. The blade-to-NUMA link architecture enables users to mix and match eight standardised blade choices
The new systems will run a variety of scientific applications, including the Gaussian electronic structure calculation application and climate modelling codes. With the appropriate server and storage solutions in place, The Altix system will also run Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.
UTAS scientists say they can accelerate their efforts to solve two extraordinarily difficult problems in chemistry: designing transition metal catalysts to turn nitrogen and carbon monoxide into other useful chemical compounds; and designing specific chemicals to carry out organocatalysis (chemical reaction accelerants made up of organic building blocks) of asymmetric reactions.
This was first published in September 2006