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Supercomputer Doubles Power

MHPCC celebrates dedication of Mana, its newest and most powerful supercomputer. “Maui is no longer just a tourist destination… ”

September 3, 2009
Cindy Schumacher

Rev. Wong clearly explained the high importance of this auspicious machine, explaining that a computer like Mana can be an enormous resource for those who need to do great things for humanity.

“The benefit of processing software to help research for our military who are serving us, as well as for the University of Hawai‘i’s scholarly pursuits, is irreplaceable,” he said.

MHPCC has evolved to become an invaluable tool in the portfolio of high-end technologies utilized by the research community.

Article Photos

Dignitaries attending the Mana Supercomputer dedication included (left to right, first row) Irene Hirano and her husband, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye; Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares; UH President M.R.C. Greenwood; Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site Branch Chief Laura Ulibarri; UH MHPCC DSRC Executive Director Gene Bal; (second row) UH Vice President of Research Jim Gaines; AFRL MHPCC DSRC Program Manager Capt. Joseph Dratz; UH Vice President of Information Technology David Lassner; DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program Director Cray Henry; and Research Corporation of UH Executive Director Michael Hamnett.
Photo: Kevin Roe, MHPCC

“High-performance computing is powering breakthrough discovery,” said DSRC Executive Director Gene Bal. “Current state-of-the-art systems, software, tools and expertise are advancing our nation’s technological dominance in the 21st Century. Researchers are harnessing the power of these key enabling technologies, and leading the transformation of advanced technology concepts into critical national security capability. MHPCC stands ready to deliver these world-class technologies, accelerating our nation’s ability to meet its most demanding challenges.”

“I’ve been told that there are about 1,700 men and women who declare themselves to be involved in high-technology on this island primarily because of the supercomputer,” said U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye at the dedication. While the senator candidly admitted his own technological skills have not yet surpassed the use of his cell phone, UH President Dr. M.R.C. Greenwood thanked him for his tech-vision nearly two decades ago.

“We can see today just how much Maui and Hawai‘i are the beneficiaries of Sen. Inouye’s foresight into technology,” said Dr. Greenwood.

“Mana,” the Hawaiian word for power and authority, is the new replacement for “Jaws.” When Jaws was installed several years ago, it was the largest computer in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Now, Mana holds that title. However, computer engineering is a fast-moving field, and in a few years even Mana will be superseded.

“Both Mana and Jaws are merely the latest in a long line of supercomputers that goes back to 1992 when, with the help of Sen. Inouye, the MHPCC was founded,” said Dr. Greenwood.

The stage has been set for continued scientific advancement, new job development, new economic paradigms, and a high standard for national security.

“It is this unique combination of the 103 TeraFLOPS [103 x 1,012 Floating Point Operations per second] of super computing power, dedicated staff and strong government support that will lead us all to a brighter and more secure future,” said Dr. Greenwood.

The Dell system designated Mana doubles the center’s computing power. It has 13 thousand times the computational capability of the original eight-GigaFLOP, eight-billion floating-point operations per second, that was first introduced when the center opened. In technical terms, Mana is based on Dell’s new PowerEdge M610 series with half-height blade architecture, arranged in 1,152 compute nodes, each with two 2.8 GHz quad-core Intel Nehalem processors and 24 GB RAM (3 GB/core)—a total of 9,216 compute cores.

The interconnect fabric is Dual Data Rate Infiniband, and the system is configured with nearly 400 terabytes of direct-attached, DataDirect disk.

“Mana can do more calculations in one second than 1,000 scientists can do in 3,200 years at the rate of one calculation per second each,” said MHPCC Acting Director David L. Stinson. “The 400-terabyte disk storage has the capacity to store more than 40 times the entire printed works of the Library of Congress.” “Mana is currently about the 45th most powerful computer in the world,” Stinson added.

This installation advances MHPCC DSRC to the forefront of high performance computing and places the facility among the leaders in Department of Defense research and development.

“Maui is no longer just a tourist destination; it is the home of the highest technology of this world,” said Sen. Inouye.

In his final Mana blessing, Rev. Wong said, “May those who are served by these pursuits receive this Mana.”



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