October 9, 2012 – Indiana University plans to install a supercomputer that would rank as the fastest for a higher education facility, processing at one-petaflop per second.

Big Red II would replace its seven-year-old supercomputer, Big Red, as part of a new research data center at its Bloomington campus in spring 2013, according to a university release.

Big Red II will consist of more than 21,000 processor cores, more than five-times the number of the original Big Red. The new supercomputer will use the university’s Lustre disk storage system from Data Direct Networks and will be constructed by supercomputer specialists Cray Inc.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie said in a statement that decision to move forward with the replacement supercomputer shows the importance of high-speed computation’s role in research, which, with the original Big Red, has attracted funding for work at the university and has “enabled [researchers] to stay at the leading edge of their disciplines.” Specifically, McRobbie noted the planned work with Big Red II on research concerning life sciences, astronomy, network science, informatics and computer science.

The price tag for the supercomputer system, installation and prepaid maintenance is $7.5 million and will be covered by cost recovery addendums in research grants and contracts, according to university VP of Information Technology and CIO Brad Wheeler.

Indiana University stated that the original Big Red was the fastest university-owned supercomputer when it was installed in 2006. It was built with an IBM e1350 Blade Center, at the time the biggest of those systems from IBM. It has run more than 3 million computing jobs and has logged 125 million hours of computer processor time, according to IU. It will be retired in 2013 when Big Red II goes online.

Cray has been involved in other high-profile supercomputing programs of late, like last year when it took over for IBM on the Blue Waters one-petaflop supercomputer at the National Science Foundation-backed National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois.

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