TACC Longhorn "Largest Hardware-accelerated Interactive Visualization Cluster in the World"

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The good folks over at the Texas Advanced Computing Center debuted Longhorn back in January, 2010. And if you were like me, you may have wondered what the thing was really for since they have the formidable TACC Ranger system down the hall.

Longhorn, the “largest hardware-accelerated interactive visualization cluster in the world” is about visualizing huge datasets. As part of NSF’s ongoing effort to deliver high-end digital services to researchers and educators, Longhorn has a mind-blowing peak rendering performance of 154 billion triangles per second.

We like to push the envelope at TACC–this system is the first of its kind,” said Kelly Gaither, principal investigator and director of Data and Information Analysis. “We’re committed to providing excellent user support and effective training to enable transformative science on this resource.”

Longhorn is different than Ranger in two ways: each node on Longhorn contains two GPUs and the memory per core for Longhorn is four times greater than that of typical HPC clusters, which allows the system to process big data concurrently. That’s where the visualization comes in, helping scientists to better understand and interact with their computational results. And for visionaries like Kelly Gaither, the real benchmark is simply giving people the power to see.


  1. Although, that’s a picture of Spur.