Visualization Cluster

In January, 2014, AVL acquired an addition to our existing visualization cluster, enabling some new capabilities.


The new cluster comprises:

  • 192 cores – 12 nodes with dual 8-core E5-2670 CPUs
  • A graphics-capable GPU on each node (nVidia K5000), with video output for potentially driving external displays
  • 32GB of memory per node
  • Infiniband interconnect
  • 10Gbit/second Ethernet attachment to the NCSA backbone
  • ~50TB of shared filesystems

This extends the group's existing cluster, acquired in 2008, which included

  • 160 cores – 20 compute nodes with dual 4-core Xeon 5345 CPUs
  • Infiniband interconnect
  • ~100TB of shared filesystems

Each new node's CPUs are 2-3x faster than those of the older nodes, so this addition more than doubles AVL's visualization computing capacity, and the addition of modern GPUs opens possibilities which the group has not yet begun to exploit.

AVL is renting 100 terabytes of "condo storage" space being built and maintained by the Advanced Digital Services group at NCSA.   The storage is hosted on Dell hardware, using an IBM GPFS filesystem, with access to the AVL cluster and desktop computers via NFS over ethernet.

Given that NCSA's Mass Storage System is no longer available for long-term data retention, AVL is also acquiring a pair of storage servers devoted to archival backup, with a total of 150 terabytes of additional space.