Mississippi State University High Performance Computing Collaboratory to get Cray CS300-LC cluster supercomputer

Mississippi State University High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HPC2) is set to receive a CS300-LC cluster supercomputer – a liquid-cooled system manufactured by Cray Inc. Nicknamed as Shadow, the computing power will serve shared research, according to an MSU official. The unit will be housed in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park adjacent to the MSU campus in Starkville.

“The installation is expected to be completed by December. Once operational, Shadow will be 10 times faster than the university’s previous fastest system, but consume far less energy,” says Trey Breckenridge, director of high performance computing.

As per MSU, the supercomputer will support research for the land-grant institution’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, Center for Computational Sciences, Geosystems Research Institute, Center for Battlefield Innovations and Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology, as well as the MSU-led Northern Gulf Institute.

The Cray system will run a broad set of applications for research projects, including fluid dynamics, structural mechanics, materials modeling, astrophysics, molecular modeling, transportation modeling and planning, weather and ocean modeling, geographic information systems, genomics and bioinformatics.

The unit uses warm water heat exchangers instead of chillers to directly cool the compute processors and memory, allowing for a more efficient removal of system heat. “The water used to cool the system is the temperature of the outside air, up to 104 degrees, with almost no additional air conditioning required,” Breckenridge said. “There are a few systems doing this in Canada and northern Europe, but as far as I know, we are the first to ever try this in a subtropical environment,” he added.

Mississippi State University’s 322-teraflop Cray CS300-LC cluster supercomputer will include new Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 processors (formerly code named “Ivy Bridge”) and Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors.