Durham Cluster Allows Researchers to Reach for the Stars

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A high-performance server cluster is enabling researchers at the Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC), based at Durham University and throughout the wider UK astrophysics community, to better understand the universe by allowing them to model phenomena ranging from solar flares to the formation of galaxies.

The cluster is part of the DiRAC (Distributed Research using Advanced Computing) national facility. As such, members of the UKMHD consortium, ICC members and their national and international collaborators also use the cluster. In total, the cluster is used by researchers at universities in the UK including Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, St Andrews, Sussex and Warwick, and from abroad by people in Australia, China, Germany and the Netherlands.

The cluster is known as The Cosmology Machine (Cosma) and is a combination of Cosma5, a new IBM and DDN technology infrastructure integrated with Durham University’s existing cluster, Cosma4 (originally installed in January 2011).

Boosted by new infrastructure, Cosma now has 9,856 CPU cores and 4,096 GPU cores. It includes 71,000 Gigabytes (GB) of RAM and the peak performance of the system is 182T/Flops. Cosma has 3.5 petabytes of storage for the data produced by cosmology applications.

The server cluster and storage has been designed, built, installed and will be supported by Durham University’s data processing, data management and storage partner, OCF.

This story appears here as part of a cross-publishing agreement with Scientific Computing World.