November 10, 2006
The upcoming international supercomputing conference and exhibit (SC06) in Tampa will showcase a method of transporting vast amounts of information at a speed and capacity 10 times the current standard.
The method uses technology from Obsidian Research Corporation of Canada and will be demonstrated by the University of Florida High Performance Computing Center.
"You could basically fill an iPod with 500 songs in one second," UF Director for Computing Erik Deumens said.
UF began in 2003 to develop the high-performance computing center in order to more effectively use and manage the powerful computers needed in today's research by many departments across the campus. Obsidian learned of the efforts and contacted UF in August about working on a joint high-speed computing project, Deumens said.
Working under contract with the U.S. Navy, Obsidian had developed equipment, called Longbow, that can extend high performance Infiniband networks up to 3,000 miles. While useful for the military, these Longbows are impractical for most organizations because of the cost -- nearly $150,000 per Longbow. To make the technology more useable, Obsidian created a more affordable box for $15,000, capable of transmitting 10 gigabytes of information per second over smaller distances, typically inside a campus.
Large information transmissions of this type have a common problem, however. There is often nowhere for the information to be stored. UF's high-performance computing center is one of only a handful nationwide that is capable of receiving so much information so quickly, Deumens said.
For the Supercomputing 2006 exhibit in Tampa, Obsidian's Longbow storage will run a demo transporting 30 gigabytes every 50 seconds. The information will move over the fiber optic network called the Florida Lambda Rail from Tampa to Jacksonville and then to Gainesville where UF's 42 TeraByte file system is capable of storing the data.
The demonstration will run periodically Nov.14-16 during Supercomputing 2006, which starts at the Tampa Convention Center Nov. 11 and continues through Nov. 17. For more information, visit the following Web sites:
Super Computing 2006 http://sc06.supercomputing.org/, UF HPC Center http://www.hpc.ufl.edu/, and Florida Lambda Rail http://www.flrnet.org/, and Obsidian Research Corporation http://www.obsidianresearch.com.
Source: University of Florida
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