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Environmental Modeling and Visualization Lab (EMVL) Computational Resources

SGI IBM iDataPlex - terra

The IBM iDataPlex (terra) provides a high-end scientific computing resource for visualization and high performance computing (HPC) projects and models. This HPC server was installed in 2010 at the EPA's National Computing Center to expand NCC computing capabilities and to address more sophisticated and complex environmental problems.

The main server that provides high-end scientific computing resource for Vis/HPC projects and models is the HPC system terra. Terra is an IBM iDataPlex cluster with six login nodes (terra1—terra6), 160 compute nodes for running batch jobs, and several storage and management nodes. Each login node has two quad-core Intel Xeon x5550 processors and 48 GB of memory (6 GB/core), while each compute node has two quad-core Intel Xeon x5550 processors and either 32 GB of memory (4 GB/core) or 48 GB of memory (6 GB/core). The processors operate at 2.66 or 2.79 GHz. The processors on the terra nodes are rated at 2.66 GHz but have been over-clocked at 2.79 GHz on the recommendation of one of the engineers who installed them. Some of the processors generated temperature warnings at the faster speed and automatically scaled themselves back to 2.66 GHz. If you would prefer to use only the nodes running at 2.79 GHz, you can request nodes with the "fast" property through the job scheduler, and each processor core can complete two floating-point multiply-add operations per clock period, giving a theoretical peak speed of 10.64 or 11.16 Gflop/s per core, or about 14 Tflop/s for the 1280 compute cores. The nodes are connected via a quad data rate (QDR) InfiniBand switch.

Data Management Resources

Archival storage management at EMVL is provided by three Sun X4600 servers providing high-capacity tape drives, more disk for staging files to and from tape, and greater bandwidth. This system is backed by a complex of Storage Tek (STK) tape silos that provide near-line access to nearly 9 Petabytes (PB) of data. To ensure high availability, the archival server consists of two primary nodes at the National Computer Center (NCC) with a third node at the Reproductive Toxicology Facility (RTF) providing data backup for the primaries.

Visualization Resources

Sophisticated visualization hardware and software support high-end, R&D visualization computing, providing the ideal technology for projects such as modeling the human respiratory system or wind flow through an urban landscape. These visualizations can be converted to animations for display or graphics suitable for publishing.

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