Inside a Supercomputing Center

June 9, 2023
The Texas Advanced Computing Center provides a tour through the history of supercomputing and high-performance-computing (HPC), as well as a range of cutting-edge cooling and networking technologies.

AUSTIN, Texas - Walking through the Texas Advanced Computing Center provides a path through the recent history of supercomputing and high-performance-computing (HPC), as well as a range of cutting-edge cooling and networking technologies.

In a single data hall, you can see it all - massive storage arrays, supercomputers spanning rows of cabinets jam-packed with servers, and many flavors of advanced cooling, including in-row units, rear-door chillers and immersion cooling.

The center at the University of Texas has been home to a series of ever-more powerful systems to advance academic HPC and scientific computing, working closely with the local tech community to advance new approaches. The latest example is Lonestar 6, a collaboration between a consortium of Texas universities and Austin-based tech companies Dell Technologies and GRC (Green Revolution Cooling). The system is housed in four liquid cooling cabinets where servers are immersed in dielectric fluid, along with 10 air-cooled racks housing a combination of NVIDIA GPUs and AM Epyc 64-core processors. 

Across the data hall is Frontera, which has helped advance the frontiers of liquid cooling with a hybrid system combining Dell EMC servers with x86 Intel processors and water-cooling systems from CoolIT, and a smaller system using NVIDIA GPUs (graphic processing units) immersed in a tank of liquid coolant from GRC (previously GRC. Data Direct Networks will contribute the primary storage system, and Mellanox will provide the high-performance interconnect for Frontera. 

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