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Home > Press > New Brazilian University Purchases Largest Shared-Memory Supercomputer in Latin America

UFABC Installs 136-Core SGI Altix 4700 and 30TB SGI InfiniteStorage Systems To Speed Nanotechnology, Engineering and Chemistry Research

New Brazilian University Purchases Largest Shared-Memory Supercomputer in Latin America

New York, NY | Posted on September 27th, 2007

Storage Decisions Booth 402 -- To speed cutting-edge scientific research and attract top-tier professors and researchers, Brazil's Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC) purchased in May a high-performance compute and storage system from SGI . The SGI(R) Altix(R) is the very first HPC system that the brand new university has acquired for their Supercomputing Center, and will be used to run data intensive and computationally intensive applications in nanoscience, materials science, engineering, chemistry and physics.

Founded in 2005 and opening its doors one year ago, UFABC is located in the Sao Paulo industrial belt and is focused on basic sciences and technology. The university is divided into three Centers: the Center for Natural Sciences, the Engineering Center, and the Mathematics and Computational Sciences Center. All three will access the compute power of the SGI(R) Altix(R) 4700 system with 272GB RAM, backed by 30TB of SGI InfiniteStorage.

"We have some applications, mainly for materials science and chemistry, that perform better on computers that have a very fast interconnect, and SGI is one of the best, if not the best, in the world, with their NUMAlink interconnect," said Gustavo Dalpian, Assistant Professor, Center for Natural Sciences, UFABC. "SGI can give us the speed we needed. Also, the ability of using all the memory in the Altix in a single process, running very large applications that demand a lot of memory, was another important part of our choice. We have around 100 openings for new professors this year, and we expect that the Altix will bring us a lot of good researchers and good professors because we now have the computer support that they need to develop their research at UFABC."

The combination of SGI(R) InfiniteStorage 120 and SGI(R) InfiniteStorage 350 ensures that the data generated by UFABC researchers is both protected and readily available to maximize analysis. InfiniteStorage 120 provides simplicity and ease-of use, as well as performance and reliability, of Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) disk drives for mission-critical applications. With integrated controllers, the InfiniteStorage 350 delivers outstanding density, capacity, and performance typically found only in enterprise class storage.

The SGI Altix and InfiniteStorage systems were installed in late May. Dalpian, who specializes in nanoscience and advanced materials, adds, "Our deal with SGI included the infrastructure. They set up the room, the air conditioning, the power, and everything else. When they were done, they just gave us the key to the room and everything was inside and working perfectly."

Dalpian will be teaching one of the first six graduate courses that begin in the fall and expects to use the SGI Altix extensively to develop several projects, particularly focusing on understanding the nature of nanomaterials, nanocrystals and quantum dots. The goal of one line of research is to develop new materials with specific, desired properties by doing massive amounts of calculations. For example, Dalpian works mainly with semiconductors, and there is much interest in trying to manipulate nanocrystals based on semiconductors. Dalpian and his students will use the SGI Altix 4700 system to attempt to meet one of the biggest challenges, which is trying to improve the dopability of these nanocrystals.

The main software at the Center for Natural Sciences that requires the speed and shared memory of SGI Altix technology includes Gaussian(R), an electronic structure program used in chemistry, materials science and nanoscience research and CPMD (Car-Parrinello Molecular Dynamics), a code particularly suited to large scale molecular dynamics. Other UFABC researchers will run a variety of high performance analysis codes on the SGI Altix for physics, biochemistry, high-energy physics, and engineering.

"SGI system architecture allows researchers and scientists the ability to use all the shared-memory and processing power for one project with immense data sets or run several smaller projects simultaneously," said Alexis Naranjo, country manager, SGI. "We are very pleased UFABC selected SGI Altix as its first high-performance compute system, which will ensure graduates and undergraduates will be well versed in leading technology as they continue research or move to private sector careers throughout Brazil or throughout the world."

UFABC purchased an SGI Altix 4700 system with 272GB RAM and 68 Dual-Core Intel(R) Itanium(R) 2 processors (for a total of 136 processor cores) running Novell(R) SUSE(R) Linux(R) Enterprise Server 10 plus 30TB combined storage on an SGI InfiniteStorage 350 system and SGI InfiniteStorage 120 system. The SGI Altix system is remotely accessible, allowing researchers easy access from anywhere, and opening the door to other researchers in Brazil and Latin America for the sharing of information or special projects.

"The computing challenges faced by a new research university or institute are enormous," said Michael Brown, sciences segment manager for SGI. "It is critical that you deploy a solution that delivers both high performance and is able to adapt the research needs of a diverse and rapidly growing community. UFABC recognized the power and flexibility of the SGI Altix 4700 system and its ability to support many simultaneous users and to combine large amounts of computing, memory and I/O capabilities to solve a single problem. By deploying such a system, UFABC is empowering their researchers to immediately create breakthrough results in a number of exciting fields."


About SGI
SGI is a leader in high-performance computing. SGI delivers a complete range of high-performance server and storage solutions along with industry-leading professional services and support that enable its customers to overcome the challenges of complex data-intensive workflows and accelerate breakthrough discoveries, innovation and information transformation. SGI helps customers solve significant challenges whether it's enhancing the quality of life through drug research, designing and manufacturing safer and more efficient cars and airplanes, studying global climate, providing technologies for homeland security and defense, or helping enterprises manage large data. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and can be found on the Web at

(C) 2007 SGI. All rights reserved. SGI, Altix, the SGI cube and the SGI logo are registered trademarks of SGI, and NUMAlink is a trademark in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in several countries. Intel and Itanium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Novell is a registered trademark, and SUSE is a trademark of Novell, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding SGI technologies and third-party technologies that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely unduly on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future or current performance. Such risks and uncertainties include long-term program commitments, the performance of third parties, the sustained performance of current and future products, financing risks, the ability to integrate and support a complex technology solution involving multiple providers and users, and other risks detailed from time to time in the company's most recent SEC reports, including its reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.

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Marla Robinson




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