National Computing Facility for Lattice Gauge Theory
Established and supported by the Australian Research Council through
the Research Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities Scheme (RIEF)
The NCFLGT was funded in January 2000 with $480,000 from the Australian Research Council through the Research Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities Scheme (RIEF) and with matching funds from the participating institutions of $207,000. The NCFLGT involves a collaboration between Adelaide University, the University of Melbourne, and the University of New South Wales. The NCFLGT is a result of a proposal by Associate Professor Tony Williams (Manager of the Facility), Dr. Derek Leinweber, and Professor Tony Thomas from Adelaide University together with Associate Professor Chris Hamer (University of New South Wales) and Professor Bruce McKellar (University of Melbourne).
The proposal has led to the purchase and construction of the Orion supercomputer which has a value of $3.6 million. This was made possible by the establishment of a partnership between Sun Microsystems, the NCFLGT , and the Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM). The generous ongoing support of
Orion SupercomputerThe Orion Supercomputer is being managed in a cooperative arrangement between the CSSM, the Distributed and High-Performance Computing (DHPC) Group and the South Australian Center for Parallel Computing (SACPC) in the Computer Science Department. The NCFLGT is indebted to Paul Coddington (DHPC/CSSM), Ramona Adorjan (CSSM/Physics) and Francis Vaughan (SACPC) who provide invaluable assistance and advice in the day-to-day management and maintenance of Orion.
Orion is a Sun Technical Compute Farm consisting of 40 E420R nodes connected by a high-speed Myrinet network as well as standard 100 Mbit/s switched Fast Ethernet. Each E420R has 4 UltraSPARC II 450MHz processors, giving a total of 160 processors, with 4MB of cache and 1GB of RAM on each processor. The peak speed of the machine is 144 Gflops and it has a total of 640 MB of cache memory, 160 GB of RAM and 720 GB of disk.
On the Linpack benchmark, Orion has achieved a sustained performance of 110 GFlops out of a theoretical peak performance of 144 GFlops. We may yet improve on this slightly. This puts Orion at number 188 in the November 2000 list of the top 500 fastest supercomputers in the world! For an explanation of the current place of Orion in the list of the Top 500 follow this link. Watch this space for more details in the future.
Those interested in learning more about the technical details and the capabilities of Orion should look HERE.
Orion users can find information on using the machine in the User's Guide to Orion.
The NCFLGT is closely related to the NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THEORETICAL PHYSICS (NITP), the SPECIAL RESEARCH CENTRE FOR THE SUBATOMIC STRUCTURE OF MATTER (CSSM), and the DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS AND MATHEMATICAL PHYSICS. The NITP is a more broadly based networking centre, which serves the interests of the whole of the Australian theoretical and mathematical physics communities by holding and coordinating a number of workshops and conferences in a variety of areas each year. The CSSM is a research centre dedicated to furthering our understanding of subatomic physics with special emphasis on the theory of quantum chromodynamics and the strong interaction.
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