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Ranger Supercomputer

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NSF Award:

World-Class Science Through World Leadership in HPC  (University of Texas at Austin)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

Ranger, the high-performance computing system at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin, was ranked as the world’s ninth fastest supercomputer, according to the November 2009 list of the top 500 supercomputers worldwide. Ranger is used for computational research in all scientific disciplines. As part of NSF’s four-year initiative to fund the deployment and operation of leading-edge systems to greatly increase the availability of computing resources to U.S. researchers, the new system provides the first petascale computing platform based within the U.S. university research community, with peak performance of one-half petaflop per second.

Ranger is specifically designed to provide unprecedented power to meet very large science and engineering computational requirements, and is currently supporting some 150 research projects, ranging from earthquake simulation and advanced biology to nanoelectronics and particle physics. Ranger significantly boosts the computational capacity of another NSF research asset, the TeraGrid. Ranger currently provides peak performance of nearly 580 teraflops. The system architecture includes an unusually large total system memory. With 123 terabytes of memory and 1.7 petabytes of raw disk storage, Ranger makes possible very data-intensive and memory-intensive calculations. Ranger began normal operations this year, following its dedication in February 2008.

Education & Outreach

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), which hosts the Ranger Supercomputer, offers a number of education and outreach activities to its local community and to the public at large. For undergraduate and graduate students, TACC and the University of Texas at Austin offer five courses about scientific computing. Faculty at other universities may also request current course materials. TACC also welcomes K-12 school groups, after-school programs, and other informal learning organizations of all ages to tour its facilities.

TACC community programs aim to inform the public of the importance and value of advanced computing technologies and the career opportunities available in the field. In addition, TACC staff actively support our community by donating their time to various local community events and programs.

The Austin Forum on Science, Technology & Society is the center’s community speaker series. On the first Tuesday of each month, The Forum hosts speakers from different fields to engage the community on topics on science and technology and their impact on society. The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) and the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) also host a lecture series featuring national authorities on ultrascale scientific simulation.

TACC is reaching out to researchers in the humanities as well. The proliferation and accessibility of massive online databases of textual, visual and aural resources in the study of history, languages, civilizations and cultures have brought new complexity to research in these fields. More than ever before, advanced computational systems, tools and techniques are required to visualize, analyze and manage archival resources. TACC staff will work with researchers at all levels of technology expertise, from beginner to the most advanced. TACC will provide access to systems, technical support, training, and other services associated with advanced computing and visualization technologies.

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  • Photo of computer server farm
Ranger, the high performance computing system at the Texas Advanced Computer Center at the University of Texas, Austin, has been ranked as one of the world's fastest supercomputers.
TACC, University of Texas, Austin
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