Grace - 2010 to present

Building on the successful provision of High Performance Computing resources to the research community at UEA for a number of years, the Research Computing Services tendered for a new High Performance Computing Cluster to be installed in 2010 and looked to develop an ongoing partnership with a HPC provider. This included meeting a number of challenges: Provide effective and reliable HPC resource fitting the research communities requirements Sustainable HPC Making HPC more accessible

A partnership was formed with Viglen Ltd, who share the goals of developing High Performance Computing with us, and were keen  to engage in developing a true collaborative partnership to take Research Computing at UEA into the future.

The new cluster was funded by ISD and was a major advance on the existing resource, providing a significant increase in both core count and performance.

A competition was launched to name the cluster. Toby Richmond's (MAC) suggestion of ‘Grace' was selected from almost 800 entries. Toby said: "I thought it would be a good idea to recognise the contribution of female IT pioneers like Grace Hopper". The judges also noted the name provides a relevant and appropriate acronym in ‘Greener Research Computing Environment'.

Grace (the first iteration) ran Red Hat compatible Centos 5.5 and the powerful Platform LSF workload manager and consisted  of:

  •     168 Dual processor, six core Intel X5650 2.66GHz systems
  •     Each system with 24Gig of RAM (2Gig per core).
  •     Quad Data Rate Infiniband on 56 nodes – 672 parallel cores
  •     Total of 2016 cores
  •     Theoretical peak performance of 21.45TFlops

Grace utilises the existing GPFS storage cluster:

  •     2 Dell PowerEdge 1950 Intel Harpertown dual quad core 2.0GHz 8Gb RAM – SAN attached  nodes
  •     2 HP ProLiant DL380 G5 Intel dual quad core 2.0GHz 16GB RAM – SAN attached nodes
  •     2 HP ProLiant DL380 G5 Intel dual dual core 2.0GHz 16GB RAM – SAN attached nodes
  •     SVC attached IBM Enterprise SAN storage current capacity approx 32TB
  •     Dell MD3000/MD1000 Storage array current capacity approx 20TB
  •     HSM Tape archive current capacity 40TB

Over the last few years there has been an ongoing increase in capacity in grace, encompassing increased core count for both sequential and parallel computing, faster processors, and more capacity for large memory computing.  Storage capacity (backed  up, scratch, and archive) has grown substantially - now standing at over 100Tb. 

In 2012 an additional 64 nodes were brought online providing an additional 1024 cores running on Intel Sandybridge E5-2670 2.6GHz CPUs.

In 2013 the large memory machine count was increased, with a further 1080 Sandybride cores planned.  New storage servers and increased capacity are also planned.