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TACC and NSF add $7M visualization service to open science community

My buddy Kelly at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (home of Ranger) has just landed a $7M grant from the NSF to build one of the largest visualization resources and services offering available to the “open science community”

The new compute resource, “Longhorn,” will provide unprecedented VDA [visualization and data analysis] capabilities and will enable the national and international science communities to interactively visualize and analyze datasets of near petabyte scale (a quadrillion bytes or 1,000 terabytes) for scientists to explore, gain insight and develop new knowledge.

The hardware part of the grant will build a moderately-sized cluster dedicated to visualization out of 256 Dell R610 and R710 nodes, each with 2 Intel Nehalem processors (that’s 2,048 cores total). The cluster will also sport 128 NVIDIA Quadroplex 2200 S4 units each with four Quadro FX 5800 GPUs. To accommodate large data the cluster will have 13.5 TB of RAM on the CPUs (2 TB on the GPUs).

The services part of the grant will include open source and COTS packages and professional services.

Along with TACC, four of the leading VDA groups across the nation will provide leadership in offering advanced services to the national open science community: the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute at the University of Utah, the Purdue Visual Analytics Center, the Data Analysis Services Group at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of California Davis. The Southeastern Universities Research Association will ensure that the VDA training is delivered to underrepresented communities focusing on minority-serving institutions.

Said Gaither, “The team has world-class expertise conducting VDA research and development, provisioning large-scale systems, providing user support, and training and educating current and future scientists. The team also has vast experience providing VDA tools to the user communities of the National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.”

Congratulations to Kelly and the TACC team. Longhorn is expected to be fully operational early next year.

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