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New supercomputer can run 110 homes, advance research

March 16, 2014

Wit h enough power to run 110 homes or 330,000 iPhone 5s devices, the strides made by MSU’s Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research, or iCER, have been impressive.

The Intel 14 cluster provides a greater scale for students to do research. The computer can store between 64 GB to 256 GB of memory per node.

“What the system allows users to do is to take their data and spread it out across tens or hundreds of systems and do larger scale analysis than they can do on their desktop,” said Andrew Keen High Performing Computing administrator at iCER.

“It also allows larger problems to be solved,” he said. “For example, a weather model that may study a 100-kilometer by 100-kilometer grid may be able to do a 1000-kilometer by 1000-kilometer grid.”

The system is helpful for a variety of majors across campus.

Dirk Colbry, a research specialist at iCER, said the main goal of the machine is to help student research at MSU.

“The primary impact of our system is (that) we are enabling science on campus, so all th e researchers on campus who need to use computation and that’s everything from (agriculture), (economics), to zoology,” Colbry said.

The turnover with computer power is quick.

According to Moore’s Law, every 18 months, computer power is doubling, iCER Director Kennie Merz said.

The more research put in, the faster technology changes.

Merz said the big picture goal is to build computational resources in Michigan.

“We’ve reached out to universities in Michigan, Central Michigan University, Kettering, and also the USDA and they’ve provided funds to buy into the cost so we then enabled them to come in and do computational science research,” Merz said.

“Down the line maybe we can collaborate with the school out East, which we won’t mention, and other schools in the state to really continue to build the computational resources in the state of Michigan,” he said.


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