THE ‘LARGEST MACHINE’ in the Eastern Mediterranean and the first high-performance computing (HPC) facility of its kind in Cyprus was yesterday unveiled at the Cyprus Institute.
The facility is a major milestone for the Cy-Tera project, whose self-proclaimed goal is to turn the Cyprus Institute’s Computation-based Science and Technology Research Centre (CaSToRC) into a major regional centre.
Practically everything about the project is large, the names, the numbers and the goals.
Take the numbers for instance: the HPC facility is an IBM hybrid CPU/GPU cluster currently holding 1,392 processors, each with 48 gigabytes, 116 nodes; 350 terabytes – one Terabyte is equal to 1,000 gigabytes - of general parallel file system storage.
“This is a very large system compared to what we are used to in Cyprus,” IBM director Marios Kapiris said.
As far as goals are concerned, the project is substantial enough to bigger than Cyprus said Edouard Brezin, an award winning theoretical physicist and head of the Cyprus Research and Educational Foundation.
Do not think of this as an institute facility but as a “national and even regional infrastructure,” Brezin said.
The project for example is part of LinkSCEEM, a collaborative effort of organisations in the US, Europe and the Middle East - partly funded by the European Commission - aiming to pool together resources to form integrated virtual infrastructures.
LinkSCEEM anticipates that the Cy-Tera project will integrate Cyprus and the Middle East region with other EU HPC activities.
LinkSCEEM even take this integration a step further and talk of linking up HPC activities “in concert to government policy to transform Cyprus into a knowledge-base society”.
The HPC facility “will enable cutting-edge research” the University of Cyprus’ rector Constantinos Christofides said adding that times of economic crisis was exactly when research and innovation was necessary for growth.
The Cy-Tera facility will be serving the research needs of the Cyprus Institute and a host of partners, including the University of Cyprus, Jordan’s Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), the University of Illinois’ national centre for supercomputing applications, the Julich Supercomputing Centre in Germany, among others.
The HPC facility will be useful to those working in climate science, engineering, computational physics, among many others.
The presentation of the facility was attended by a number of officials including former President George Vassiliou.
The hardware and its maintenance for three years cost €1.1 million while the Cyprus Institute has secured over €2.5 million from European funds to work on the Cy-Tera project itself.
“The benefit expected to arise from (related) economic activity is estimated to be over €4.0 million,” a news release said.