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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SDSC Receives $20 Million to Create 'Gordon'

The funds have come from the NSF

The University of California in San Diego (UCSD)-based San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) was recently awarded no less than $20 million, in order to start constructing its new supercomputer, entitled Gordon. The money was awarded to the Center via a special grant from the United States National Science Foundation (NSF), which seeks to support innovation in this field. The new machine will be used to model and search solutions for critical science and societal problems that plague humankind today and stem from the type of society we live in.

“We are clearly excited about the potential for Gordon. This HPC system will allow researchers to tackle a growing list of critical 'data-intensive' problems. These include the analysis of individual genomes to tailor drugs to specific patients, the development of more accurate models to predict the impact of earthquakes on buildings and other structures, and simulations that offer greater insights into what's happening to the planet's climate,” the principal investigator of the Gordon Project, SDSC Interim Director Michael Norman, says.

The expert adds that the new instrument is the follow-up design of the first supercomputer to use flash devices, SDSC's Dash. Gordon will feature vast amounts of flash memory that will allow it to process information faster than existing supercomputers, still constrained by the relatively low turning speeds of hard disk plates, can. In addition, special, virtual shared-memory software will be used to create large shared-memory systems that will speed up the solution time for problems that now make even the most advanced supercomputer cringe and stutter.

“Data-driven scientific exploration is now complementing theory, experimentation and simulation as tools scientists and engineers use in order to make the scientific breakthroughs sought by the National Science Foundation. SDSC's Gordon will be the most recent tool that can be applied to data-driven scientific exploration,” the Deputy Director and Senior Science Advisor for the National Science Foundation's Office of Cyberinfrastructure, Jose L. Munoz, adds.

“It was conceived and designed to enable scientists and engineers – indeed any area requiring demanding extensive data analysis – to conduct their research unburdened by the significant latencies that impede much of today's progress. Gordon will do for data-driven science what tera-/peta-scale systems have done for the simulation and modeling communities, and provides a new tool to conduct transformative research,” he shares.

“For nearly a quarter century, SDSC has been a pioneer in the field of high-performance computing. It is therefore fitting that this Center and its staff have been chosen to develop a one-of-a-kind HPC system that not only is powerful, but also will tackle data-intensive research applications that aren't easily handled by the current generation of supercomputers,” the UCSD Vice Chancellor for Research, Art Ellis, concludes.

SDSC Receives $20 Million to Create 'Gordon'

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