Green supercomputing, economic development, and the DoD

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First, news from back in early June that the small and economically troubled Massachusetts town of Holyoke is in the planning stages for a green supercomputing center

The Holyoke high performance computing center, projected to cost approximately $100 million, will be managed by a collaborative led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts that will also include the EMC Corp., the data storage giant based in Hopkinton, and Cisco Systems Inc., which has a regional research center in Boxborough.

Holyoke was chosen as the site for the center because of the availability of inexpensive, environmentally-friendly hydroelectric power from the nearby Connecticut River, according to members of the collaborative. Holyoke is also situated near high speed data lines that run along the nearby Mass. Pike and Interstate 91.

…If the center gets built, it will be a coup for the small city, which is one of the most economically challenged in Massachusetts. According to the most recent Census estimates, Holyoke’s median family income is $38,819, compared with a national average of $60,374, and 28.3 percent of Holyoke families live below poverty level, compared with 9.8 percent nationally. In April, 2009, when the national the unemployment rate averaged 7.8 percent, Holyoke’s rate was 10.7 percent.

Then news, sent to me late last week by Jeremy Kepner, that MIT’s Lincoln Labs has been awarded a new 50 TFLOPS super that will be sited in the new facility.

TX-GreenPioneer will also be a pathfinder for Massachusetts’ Greening-of-IT initiative that is endeavoring to develop the Holyoke High Performance Computing and Training Center (HPCC) to provide the computing support critical to high-technology applications. HPCC, a collaboration between higher education, industry, and government, is envisioned as a resource for the area’s academic and corporate research, and is planned to take advantage of Holyoke’s sustainable energy resources—hydroelectric, solar, and wind power.

TX-GreenPioneer has a couple of really interesting aspects

The Department of Defense’s High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) has awarded MIT Lincoln Laboratory a 50-teraflop (2 petabyte) supercomputer for developing novel sensor processing algorithms using Lincoln Laboratory’s interactive cloud computing software, LLGrid.
The supercomputer, called TX-GreenPioneer, will use innovative shipping container technologies to minimize energy consumption and reduce the carbon footprint by tenfold compared to a traditional installation.  The TX-GreenPioneer system will explore a number of revolutionary supercomputing management approaches:

  • Multistate scheduling to dynamically place processors into hot/warm/cold states based on the instantaneous user demand
  • Energy forecasting to allow users to schedule their jobs to minimize energy usage
  • Green overclocking to allow processors to be accelerated (“overclocked”) when environmental conditions permit

Some of these topics in green computing will also be covered in our Green HPC series, launched early last week here at insideHPC. If you haven’t checked it out yet, click over to the series home page.


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