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Last modified: Thursday, June 28, 2007

IUís Big Red supercomputer and Data Capacitor shine at International Supercomputer Conference

June 27, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's "Big Red" supercomputer is again ranked among the world's fastest, and IU accomplishments in advanced cyberinfrastructure are attracting attention and acclaim at the International Supercomputer Conference being held this week in Dresden, Germany. "Big Red" placed 30th on the June 2007 list of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers unveiled today at the conference. Additionally, Indiana University's Data Capacitor team, with partners from Technische Universitaet Dresden, demonstrated impressive performance on a distributed transatlantic Lustre file system designed to move large amounts of scientific data quickly and easily.

Thanks to an upgrade this spring with the assistance of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Big Red moved up in rank, after placing 31st in the previous (fall 2006) list. The higher rankings of the TOP500 list change very rapidly; IU's ranking shows the strides that IU is making to provide researchers with the tools to accelerate innovation and discovery.

"Big Red is one of the most powerful supercomputers in existence and it is the fastest ever in the state of Indiana," said Brad Wheeler, Indiana University chief information officer and dean of information technology at IU Bloomington.

Since 1993, The TOP500 List has been compiled twice a year by a group of highly respected leaders in the supercomputing community and released at the world's two largest supercomputing conferences - the International Supercomputer Conference held each June in Germany, and the US Supercomputing Conference held each November in the U.S.

IU's Data Capacitor - a 535 Terabyte storage system - is also featured in the week's hardware news at the International Supercomputing Conference. Using Wide Area Network access to the Lustre file system and the Data Capacitor over GEANT2 and Internet2 advanced research networks, a team from IU and the Technische Universitaet Dresden achieved nearly 100 Megabytes/sec data transfer over a single 1 Gigabit link across the Atlantic Ocean. The team has plans to increase the capabilities of long-distance data access via Lustre in the near future. The ability to transparently access data across long distances is critical to enabling new scientific advances, as the amount of research data "born digital" continues to skyrocket. IU is also working within the U.S. to enable use of the Data Capacitor across long distances, within the NSF-funded TeraGrid.

Supporting the ability to manage massive amounts of data and large-scale computational analysis is a critical aspect of Indiana University's strategy for supporting innovation. IU is putting new focus on advanced computation as a tool for economic innovation in Indiana.

Craig Stewart, associate dean for research technologies and chief operating officer of Pervasive Technology Labs at Indiana University, said, "Big Red has enabled scientific innovations at IU and, via the TeraGrid, throughout the nation. The key challenge for us in the months ahead will be to use Big Red to enable new business innovations within the State of Indiana, working with our colleagues from Purdue for the benefit of the economy of the state."

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers. CNS-0521433. ACI-0338618l, OCI-0451237, OCI-0535258, and OCI-0504075. Collaboration with the Technische Universitaet Dresden has been supported by TU-D, Indiana University, and the Fulbright Senior Scholar's program. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Lilly Endowment, Inc., or any other funding agency.

University Information Technology Services (UITS) at Indiana University, with offices on the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, develops and maintains a modern information technology environment throughout the university in support of IU's vision for excellence in research, teaching, outreach and lifelong learning. UITS provides tools and services to support the academic and administrative work of the university, including supercomputers for data analysis and visualization. For more information, see

IU's Big Red supercomputer was funded in part via the Indiana METACyt Initiative, with support from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. and by Shared University Research grants from IBM, Inc. to Indiana University.

About TOP500

The TOP500 project was started in 1993 to provide a reliable basis for tracking and detecting trends in high-performance computing. For more information, see