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System X advances computational science and engineering


BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 15, 2006 – Total allocated time on System X, Virginia Tech's 1100 node Apple/Infiniband cluster, has crossed the 15,000,000 CPU-hour mark. Cal Ribbens, chair of the System X allocation committee and associate professor in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, reports that the utilization and impact of the machine continues to grow steadily across the campus.

Time on System X is available free of charge to Virginia Tech faculty members and students, and to external users who are collaborating with Virginia Tech researchers. More than 50 research projects have been awarded time on the system. These projects represent a wide cross-section of applications including materials (25.8 percent of allocated time), fluids (25.2 percent), biology (18.2 percent), and chemistry (10.9 percent).

System administrators work with users to make sure that the high-capability potential of System X is available for jobs that require it. For example, approximately 35 percent of the 5.6 million CPU-hours that were used during the first nine months of 2006 were devoted to jobs requiring 200 or more CPUs.

“System X has been a boon for Virginia Tech as indicated by other measures as well,” Ribbens said. “Several new faculty members have been attracted to the university, in part, because of the new research computing capabilities. Ten of the projects allocated time on System X are led by faculty members who have been hired in the last three years.”

Research funding has also benefited from ready access to the resource, Ribbens said. A recent survey showed that current projects representing over $7 million in funding are making use of System X.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is among the top research universities in the nation. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to quality, innovation, and results through teaching, research, and outreach activities. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.