Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

6-28-06

Contacts:

Srinivas Aluru, Electrical and Computer Engineering, (515) 294-3539, aluru@iastate.edu

James Davis, Chief Information Officer, (515) 294-0323, davis@iastate.edu

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917, mkrapfl@iastate.edu

Iowa State returns to supercomputer rankings

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's supercomputer is among the 100 most powerful in the world, according to the latest TOP500 list released at the International Supercomputer Conference in Dresden, Germany on June 28.

CyBlue, the IBM Blue Gene/L supercomputer that arrived at Iowa State last January, ranks 99th on the TOP500 list. Iowa State last had a computer on the list in November 1993. Iowa State's MasPar MP-1216 was ranked 490th that year.

Srinivas Aluru

Srinivas Aluru with CyBlue and its 2,048 processors. At left is the data storage and equipment to make the supercomputer operational. Photo by Bob Elbert.

CyBlue not only brought Iowa State back to the rankings, it has provided all kinds of researchers with a powerful tool.

"The Blue Gene/L system is already making a huge impact at Iowa State," said Srinivas Aluru, an Iowa State professor of electrical and computer engineering and leader of the research team that brought the supercomputer to campus. "It is being used by over 35 researchers to support projects in astrophysics, atmospheric sciences, bioinformatics, chemical engineering, computational chemistry, computational electromagnetics, computational physics, information assurance, nuclear physics, plant genomics and systems biology."

Aluru said CyBlue has allowed his research group to successfully analyze large-scale biological data at an order of magnitude larger than previously possible.

The machine, for example, is being used to help sequence the corn genome, considered the most complex sequencing project attempted to date. It has also been used in gene studies to cluster 3.7 million mouse DNA sequences in less than 10 hours. Aluru said most previous analyses of that data have been limited to a few hundred thousand sequences.

5.7 trillion calculations per second

CyBlue can handle 5.7 trillion calculations per second. IBM has calculated that a person working with a calculator would take 5 million years to make the same number of calculations.

CyBlue contains 2,048 processors. It includes 11 trillion bytes of data storage. And all its processing power sits in a black box that's about the size of a big refrigerator.

James Davis, Iowa State's chief information officer, said it's great for Iowa State to make the TOP500 list. But he said the most important thing about CyBlue is the research it supports.

The TOP500 list has been compiled twice a year since 1993 by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim in Germany; Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville; and Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. The list is available at http://www.top500.org.

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Quick look

Iowa State's supercomputer is among the 100 most powerful in the world.

Quote

"The Blue Gene/L system is already making a huge impact at Iowa State."

Srinivas Aluru, an Iowa State professor of electrical and computer engineering and leader of the research team that brought the supercomputer to campus