Intel's Itanium family of processors will be used to build a distributed scientific computing system that Intel expects to be the largest of its kind in the world. Known as TeraGrid, this system will link 3300 Itanium processors. According to the company's projections, TeraGrid will be able to complete 13.6 trillion calculations/s (13.6 teraflops) and share more than 450 trillion bytes of information.
The TeraGrid project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This organization has awarded $53 million to four facilities to address complex scientific research by creating a multisite Distributed Terascale Facility (DTF). Researchers across the U.S. will be able to access TeraGrid to quickly analyze, simulate, and help solve complex scientific problems. Targeted research areas include molecular modeling for disease detection, cures, and drug discovery. Other investigations include automobile crash simulations, research on alternative energy sources, and climate and atmospheric simulations for more accurate weather predictions.
TeraGrid will build upon an existing one-teraflop solution composed of over 300 Itanium processors. This system is currently being deployed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). In addition to the Itanium processors, TeraGrid will also deploy Intel's "McKinley" processors. McKinley is the code name for the second product in the company's Itanium processor family, due in 2002.
The system will consist of clustered IBM servers running the Linux operating system. The servers will be linked by a high-speed optical network from Qwest Communications International. Intel will also supply the TeraGrid with key compilers, software, tools and engineering design, and tuning support services.
TeraGrid's DTF computing power will largely be based at the NCSA at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The three DTF partners that will also deploy Itanium systems are the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The TeraGrid scientific computing system is expected to deploy in 2002.
For more information on the TeraGrid supercomputing project, visit www.intel.com.