New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) is now running the most powerful high performance computer (HPC) in the UAE.
The universities ‘BuTinah’ cluster, which was built by HP, runs at approximately 70 teraflops (one trillion floating point operations per second).
The cluster consists of 512 super-dense compute nodes, each of which has a memory capacity of at least 48 gigabytes. Additional memory nodes
supply 192 gigabytes of RAM, with an additional terabyte node dedicated for NYUAD’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology. Graphics processing
units and visualization nodes included in the system are used for specialized functions, such as the translation of data into images.
The system will be used by researchers at NYUAD, and it is also connected to the UAE’s national research and education network, Ankabut, to enable
collaboration with other researchers in the UAE and the region. Researchers can access the HPC through their personal computers to run experiments and
computations on applications that have been installed on the system.
The BuTinah cluster, named after the marine reserve off the coast of Abu Dhabi, is currently maintained at the Injazat headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
“As NYU Abu Dhabi continues to develop into a world-class center for cutting-edge research, having access to a computational resource that can manage a high volume
of complex numerical calculations is imperative,” said Fabio Piano, provost of NYUAD. “Scientific research is increasingly moving in the direction of mathematical model-based
experiments as they provide an efficient way to develop and test theories on some of science’s most challenging questions.”
“If someone has a serial requirement, needing only one processor, but has 100 jobs with each taking a week to run, it would take 100 weeks to complete the job using a regular PC,”
explained Muataz Al-Barwani, NYUAD HPC Manager. “The HPC provides a form of task farming, allowing the researcher to submit all 100 serial jobs to be processed at the same time to have the results within a week.”
The fastest supercomputer in the world, the ‘Titan’ system, based at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, recorded a performance of 17.59 Petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second).