“Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination.”
-Daniel Bell, The Winding Passage: Essays and Sociological Journeys, 1960-1980
100-ish racks of equipment. 8008 dual-socket servers. 4PB of NVMe. 50PB of spinning disk drives. 320 terabytes per second HDR network. One-million-gallon thermal storage tank.
That’s what it takes to build the worlds 5th largest supercomputer (according to the Top500), and largest academic systems in the United States. But these are just numbers. Even the impressive 38.7 petaflops of peak performance isn’t just a representation of capability. Even more than the raw numbers, no matter how impressive, supercomputers represent a promise of competitiveness and security maintained, a dream of what could be known and what problems could be solved. Even with the democratization of HPC in the past few years, where even relatively smaller commercial entities are throwing HPC resources at their business challenges, it still requires truly massive supercomputers to answer questions that seem unanswerable.
The Frontera system at the Texas Advanced Computing Center will be celebrated during a dedication event on September 3rd, 2019. The beginnings of our universe, how our world works from complex tectonic interaction to weather patterns, and the human being itself will all be explored using the power of computational science and engineering to help us better understand the world around us. Located at The University of Texas at Austin, the broad collaborative multidisciplinary access to formidable shared compute resources truly enables the promise of this system, with researchers around the world able to utilize the system for an incredible variety of research.
DDN is proud to continue to collaborate with TACC and other supercomputing centers to help generate new discoveries and advance scientific understanding. For over 20 years, our focus has been on enabling at-scale data. Efficiently delivering 1.5 terabytes per second front end storage throughput, and managing petabytes of data remain the types of solutions we really relish throwing. It is gratifying to see systems like Frontera come online, and allow scientists the world over to capitalize on these computational and storage capabilities to take on grand challenges, which until now have been unreachable or even unimaginable.