With SGI Altix ICE, University of Exeter Aims for the Stars – and Hopes to Learn How They Are Born

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SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sept. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — British astrophysicists at the University of Exeter know how trying it can be to simulate the birthing ground of new stars. Using 16 processors of a supercomputer located at another university, the scientists needed an entire year to model a cloud of hydrogen and helium gas so vast it would take a beam of light four years to travel from one end to another. The Exeter scientists found that waiting for results on this resource hobbled their productivity, so to tackle one of the remaining fundamental problems of astrophysics they turned to SGI(R) Altix(R) ICE, a new, high-performance computing (HPC) blade system from SGI (NASDAQ: SGIC) .

When the 128-core, 16TB SGI(R) Altix(R) ICE 8200 system arrived at the university’s campus in June, Exeter realized its wait was over.

“Our new SGI Altix ICE system was up and running the afternoon it arrived, and we began running benchmarks within 48 hours,” said Matthew Bate, professor of theoretical astrophysics at the University of Exeter. “The system manager began training on it the next morning. When a university can achieve rapid productivity on a powerful system like this, it makes for some very excited researchers.”

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