Chuck Kimmerle/University Relations)
cluster combines economy and high performance for
simulation modeling, other uses
The University has established a new high-performance
computational research center that will give faculty
and research collaborators a powerful tool for simulation
modeling of biological and chemical agents and for
various other applications in computational chemistry
and biology, weather prediction, climate variability,
and the emerging fields of genomics and proteomics.
Users representing other disciplines will soon follow.
The new machine, manufactured by Aspen Systems, Inc.,
of Wheatland, Colo., features a 48-node Linux Beowulf
cluster with dual Opteron 1.8-GHz 64-bit processors.
The cluster was installed this summer in the basement
of Upson Hall. It is now being tested, initially by
UND researchers experienced in high-performance computing
from the Departments of Atmospheric Sciences, Chemistry,
and Computer Science.
The new computational research center was made possible
by leveraging $130,000 in strategic planning funds
from the North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate
Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Discussions are under
way for recruiting a full-time algorithm developer
and possibly a Center director. Meridian Environmental
Technologies, Inc., of Grand Forks, a spin-off company
owned by UND faculty member and Regional Weather Information
Center Director Leon Osborne, will administer the
system during its first year.
A key campus partner is Information Technology Systems
and Services, which is providing secure physical space,
help desk services, cluster system backup, and funding
for Meridian’s system administration, the Linux
operating system, and the Portland Group parallel
Using this Linux Beowulf cluster approach gives UND
capability that would cost significantly more to replicate
with a conventional supercomputer.
Vice President for Research Peter Alfonso, whose division
is responsible for the new center, said one of its
strategic goals is to serve as a model for forging
partnerships with higher education, “with a
fundamental premise of fostering technology-based
economic development throughout the state of North
Dakota and up and down the Red River Valley Research
Other goals include:
• Making UND’s faculty and their research
collaborators more competitive for federal, state,
and private sector funding opportunities.
• Providing state-of-the-art facilities in
a dynamic research environment.
• Assisting in the recruitment and retention
of faculty and students with high-performance computing
needs for research and other creative activities.
• Promoting growth in research across all disciplines.