504 TFlops 'Ranger' Supercomputer Now In Operation

Austin (TX) - The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin is now running the world's most powerful supercomputing system for open science research. Ranger is expected provide more than 500 million processor hours of computing time to the science community, performing more than 200,000 years of computational work over its four-year lifetime.

The new supercomputer went live already on February 4 (about one month later than originally planned), but is made official by the TACC and the National Science Foundation (NSF) on Friday. Ranger achieves a peak performance of 504 TFlops, which makes the world's second most capable supercomputer, after system is after IBM's 596 TFlops BlueGene/L, which is installed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Ranger will be joining NSF's Teragrid and is expected to ring in the age of Petaflop computing. A performance of 1 PFlops translates into one thousand trillion floating point operations per second.

The system uses Sun's Constellation platform and integrates 3936 compute nodes. There are 15,744 AMD Opteron processors (62,976 cores) and 1.7 PB of storage in Sun Fire x4500 servers.

"Ranger is the first of the new "Path to Petascale" systems that NSF provides to open science. It is out in front on the pathway to sustained petascale performance," said Daniel Atkins, director of the NSF's Office of Cyberinfrastructure, in a prepared statement.

"Ranger provides incredible new capabilities for computational researchers across the nation and world. Its computational power, memory and storage capacity greatly exceed anything the open science community has had access to," said TACC director Jay Boisseau. "It takes tremendous expertise to deploy and support research on such a system as well as to use it effectively, but it is an awesome honor and responsibility for us at TACC."

The NSF provided $59 million for Ranger, which covers the system and four years of operating costs.