Dell Unravels Secrets of the Universe

London’s prestigious Oxford University recently completed the deployment of a Dell Computer high-performance computing cluster solution its says will let the university’s physics professors take on the lofty task of studying the nature of the universe, Dell announced Tuesday.

Dell and Oxford’s physics department began discussions nine months ago on the heels of a boost in funding for Oxford’s physics research consortium, which includes the brainpower of professors and students at Liverpool, University College London, and Glasgow Universities.

A spokesperson for Dell said Oxford’s most recent source of funding came from The Wellcome Trust and will be used entirely to support hardware and software for the research project.

The four-university consortium will each house identical Dell PowerEdge server clusters that run on Red Hat Linux with 16 PowerVault 220s RAID storage enclosures, a Gigabit Ethernet network, and Scali Universe XE cluster management software.

With its newly installed processing power, the consortium can more easily analyze huge amounts of data received from Fermilab’s Super Collider in Illinois to investigate mass, inertia, and antimatter, and the behavior and effects of these elementary particles on the universe.

Antimatter is a key force in nature that scientist believe could explain the origins of the universe and creation of new universes, said a representative for Oxford’s physics department.

The project’s leader, Dr. Todd Huffman, chose to update Oxford’s computing platform with Dell equipment based on cost and technical support, he was quoted as saying.

“The Dell solution gives us the option to expand and upgrade our infrastructure by adding new processors and storage devices year-by-year when our existing hardware is at capacity,” said Huffman. “Dell also presented the best overall package, offering up to 30 percent more processing power than its competitors for the same cost, which meant we could implement the solution while keeping within the budget.”

Scali, a Dell clustering technology partner, will provide system support for Oxford.

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