Build a Supercomputer Day

What’s it take to build a supercomputer these days?

One way is to first buy a whole lot of Dell computers and set aside a day, that’s right, just a day, to set it all up. That’s what Purdue University did this week with 812 Dell PowerEdge 1950 dual quad-core computer nodes.

More than 200 university employees participated in “Installation Day” Monday, May 5, actually taking only the half the day to build a new HPCC (High Performance Computer and Communications) system. You can see a 30 second [sped up video ]( the Purdue folks loading the racks and software to bring the systems online.

The new HPCC will be used for research across a variety of disciplines, including engineering, biological and earth and atmospheric sciences, mathematics and physics. Purdue said its leading researchers pooled their grants and provided a majority of the funding for the cluster, which is housed at the University’s Mathematics Building on campus.

“This new supercomputer will enhance Purdue’s research capabilities and support our efforts to make significant advances in a variety of areas, from designing new drugs and materials to learning the structures of disease-causing viruses,” said Gerry McCartney, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, Purdue University.

When Michael Dell started PCs Limited (later renamed Dell) in 1984 out his college dorm room, it was one of the first to offer IBM PC-compatibles for sale via mail order. Wonder if he ever dreamed he’d eventually be shipping the components to build a supercomputer?

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