Key Initiatives

ITEC - brazos- NG 9-1-1 - SCOOP - LEARN - Mesonet - DREAMS


BRAZOS, the newest major computing cluster at Texas A&M University, is designed to meet the high-throughput computing needs of A&M's computational scientists and engineers. Though capable of executing modest MPI applications, brazos is optimized for handling large numbers of single-node computations. This form of computing is referred to as high-throughput or capacity computing.

The computing power of brazos comes from its (initially) 126 Computing Nodes, each a Dell PE 1950 with two quad-core Intel Xeon (Harpertown) processors. 96 nodes have 16 GBytes RAM each, and 30 nodes have 32 GBytes each. Total peak capacity is just over 10 teraflops.

Access to brazos is via a login node, a Dell server, also with two quad-core Xeons and 16 GBytes RAM. User home directories are supported on its 5 TByte file system.

Data storage is supported using the gluster parallel file system on a set of Dell servers, each with 12 TBytes capacity. Initially two servers are configured. Access to this data storage is supported by an external file access gateway, another Dell server.

Operating software for brazos includes the Linux operating system, GNU and Portland compilers, Maui/Torque/Gold cluster managers, several MPI and linear algebra packages, and numerous applications.The Compute Nodes and Servers of brazos are connected internally via an HP switch, with gigE connections to each Compute Node and 10gigE connections to the login node, the gluster servers, and the external file access gateway. The login node (with gigE) and the external file access gateway  (with 10gigE) are connected to the campus network. The network connectivity of brazos, both within the cluster and to the campus network, is shown here.

Funding for brazos comes primarily from participating stakeholders, faculty from several (initially four) colleges. In addition to managing brazos, the Academy itself also functions as a stakeholder. The initial stakeholders are:

   - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Jim Woolley of Entomology, Mariana Mateos of Wildlife Science, and Robert Washington-Allen of Ecosystem       Science and Management

   - Dwight Look College of Engineering, Akhil Datta-Gupta and Behnam Jafarpour of Petroleum Engineering, and Tiffani Williams of Computer Science

   - College of Geosciences, John Nielsen-Gammon of Atmospheric Sciences

   - College of Science, Jean-Luc Guermond, Wolfgang Bangerth, and Guido Kanschat of Mathematics

Additional funding from the Vice President for Research supports base infrastructure (e.g., racks and file servers). Support from CIS provides 10-Gb/s networking to the campus network and other operational support such as machine room space, electrical power, and air conditioning. As new stakeholders join and as existing stakeholders increase their contributions, we expect the capacity of brazos to grow.

Initial applications will include reservoir modeling, biomedical imaging, and atmospheric modeling. In addition to serving the needs of its stakeholders, some capacity on brazos is expected to be available for other computational scientists and engineers at A&M.

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