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Laurier partner in SHARCNET

$42-million project supplies access to high-performance computing

Nov 27/01

Dr. Ian Hamilton has an open invitation for Laurier faculty members and researchers: If you need massive computing power for your research, give him a call.

Hamilton, an associate professor of chemistry at Laurier, is our link to SHARCNET, the Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network.

The SHARCNET project was first announced several months ago, but only recently have all the sites been up and running. "We also need to co-ordinate our program development and determine what software is needed," Hamilton says.

Laurier, as a relatively small player in the $42-million SHARCNET project, received a cluster of eight Alpha 833 MHz processors with 8 Gb RAM and 96 Gb storage from Compaq Canada, worth $340,000.

The purpose of our cluster is to allow researchers here to develop software and test it before using one of the larger Beowulf clusters at the University of Western Ontario, University of Guelph, or McMaster University.

Each of those large clusters supports a wide range of computing applications, from smaller shared-memory applications, to large co-ordinated sets of serial jobs, to massively parallel computations spanning hundreds of processors.

What it all means is that Western, Guelph and McMaster have now moved onto the list of the top 500 computer sites in the world for their computing power, ranking 183rd, 280th, and 315th, respectively.

Other members of SHARCNET are the University of Windsor, Sheridan College and Fanshawe College.

SHARCNET's Greatwhite machine is now the most powerful computer in Canada available for use by university researchers, and is the 11th most powerful academic computer centre in North America.

Access to SHARCNET should be of interest to "anyone with a need for high-performance computing," says Hamilton, and would be of particular interest to researchers in chemistry, physics, biology, kinesiology and physical education, psychology, computing, business, and geography.

So far, two Laurier professors have obtained funding to develop SHARCNET programs: Dr. Marek Wartak of the Physics and Computing Department for his work on simulating lasers, and Dr. Stephen Perry of Kinesiology and Physical Education for his work on modelling how the human body moves.

Hamilton can be reached at extension 2669 or by e-mail.

[Visit the SHARCNET Web site]

Barry Ries
Writer
Public Affairs Department
Wilfrid Laurier University
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
N2L 3C5
(519) 884-0710 ext. 3830


 

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