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Switch SUPERNAP, Intel Partner with UNLV to Boost Scientific Research and Economic Development

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Intel’s “Cherry Creek” supercomputer brings world-class computing power to UNLV; Switch SUPERNAP to lead high-tech industry partnerships.
Research  |  Sep 17, 2014  |  By Tony Allen
Media Contact: Tony Allen, UNLV Office of Media Relations (702) 895-0893

LAS VEGAS - Tech industry leaders Switch SUPERNAP and Intel are working together with UNLV to bring one of the world's most powerful supercomputers to Las Vegas.

UNLV was recently awarded the use of the Intel "Cherry Creek" supercomputer, which ranks among the world's fastest and most powerful supercomputers for its combination of speed, power, and energy efficiency. Housed in Switch's Las Vegas SUPERNAP data center and available to UNLV researchers through SUPERNAP's unique connectivity network, the "Cherry Creek" supercomputer gives the university and its research partners access to world-class computing power and will act as a catalyst for scientific discovery, the modernization of applications, and regional economic development efforts.

Complicated analyses that once took years can now be completed in days, advancing fields such as genomics and bioinformatics, medical and climate research, molecular modeling, and data analytics. Thanks to its placement at the Switch SUPERNAP, Cherry Creek will allow UNLV researchers to share data with collaborators across the globe.

"Supercomputers have become an indispensable part of almost every industry. For university researchers, they've increased the speed of analysis and discovery exponentially," said UNLV President Donald Snyder. "Working together with Intel and Switch, UNLV has a tremendous opportunity not only to keep pace with but to play a leading role in big data research and economic development partnerships that require high-performance computing."

The companies will also encourage public-private interactions to accelerate innovation and advance regional economic development. Private companies need access to the high-level computing power of supercomputers and the expertise of the UNLV team that uses them, so a portion of the computer's space will be reserved for private sector investment in university research through partnerships with UNLV and Switch SUPERNAP.

"Cherry Creek was the first Top 500 class supercomputer featured at a supercomputing event, showcasing the efforts by Intel and our partners in driving unprecedented efficiency gains and accessibility that were not previously possible," said Hugo Saleh, Director of Marketing and Industry Development, Intel Technical Computing Group. "These benefits are achieved using the combination of generally available Xeon processors, Xeon Phi Coprocessors, and True Scale Fabric which enable efficient application scaling. We are excited to embark on this partnership with Switch and UNLV and look forward to the advancements in code parallelization and the groundbreaking scientific results that will be achieved."

In addition to research and private collaborations, Intel experts will also engage with students in IT-related fields through guest lectures and academic programming, helping UNLV graduates to compete in the evolving tech industry.

"The SUPERNAP executive team is pleased to be donating the services to UNLV for this effort. We understand how important this scientific research will be for economic development in the region," said Rob Roy, CEO and Founder of Switch SUPERNAP. "The SUPERNAP ecosystem will accelerate the development of new technology and provide the necessary industry relationships to advance UNLV's efforts."

Cherry Creek is a welcome addition to the strong computing arsenal of UNLV's National Supercomputing Center for Energy and the Environment (NSCEE), a full-service facility founded in 1991 that supports researchers on campus and across the nation. UNLV staff will maintain and optimize Cherry Creek, schedule time and use for UNLV and partner researchers, and will work closely with technical experts from Intel and Switch SUPERNAP to update the supercomputer as new technology becomes available.

"Having access to this technology will enhance and expand UNLV's current research programs and will act as a catalyst for new emerging research interests such as big data analytics," said Joseph Lombardo, Executive Director of NSCEE. "Additionally, having this special resource will enhance the educational experience for a diverse set of top-quality graduate and undergraduate students while playing an important role in faculty recruitment."

About Cherry Creek

Developed in conjunction with and support from Bright Computing, CoolIT Systems, Intel, Micron Technology, and Supermicro, Cherry Creek is capable of processing data roughly seven times faster than UNLV's supercomputing center currently allows. Speed in supercomputing is measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS). Originally shown at the Supercomputing 2013 conference, Intel Cherry Creek delivers 131.5 TFLOPS at only 74kW of power, which placed it 400th on the November Top500 list and 41st on the Green500 rankings of the world's most energy efficient supercomputers at that time.

Technical Details

48 node cluster in two racks comprised of 12 Supermicro FatTwin Server Solutions with 48 2U half-width nodes.

Each node comprised of:

  • Dual Intel(R) Xeon(R) E5-2697v2
  • Three Intel(R) Xeon Phi(TM) Coprocessor 7120P
  • Intel(R) Solid-State Drives DC S3700 Series
  • Intel(R) True Scale Fabric Host Channel Adapter 7340
  • 128GB Micron DDR3 memory

Linpack Performance (Rmax): 131.5 TFLOPS
Theoretical Peak (Rpeak): 198.8 TFLOPS
Power: 74.00 kW
Operating System: Redhat Enterprise Linux 6
Compiler: Intel Composer XE 2013
Math Library: Intel MKL
MPI: Intel MPI