Logo: University of Southern California

USC HPCC Supercomputer Ranks in U.S. Top 10

Viterbi School contributes expertise and leadership to the recent expansion to a 31 trillion calculations per second system
Leyla Ezdinli
June 25, 2008 — USC’s Center for High-Performance Computing and Communications houses the nation’s ninth-fastest supercomputer in an academic setting, according to TOP500 Supercomputer Sites, an online site that ranks the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world.

Priya Vashishta: ". It is very impressive that USC has succeeded in remaining in a leadership position." (John Livzey photo)
This spring, the HPCC's new supercomputer cluster achieved a benchmark of 30.99 teraflops, or 30.99 trillion floating-point calculations per second, placing it ninth in the nation among academic supercomputers, 25th in the world among academic supercomputers and 63rd in the world among all supercomputers.

In 2005, USC had the nation’s second most powerful computer based in an academic setting with a performance of 10.75 teraflops.

“Supercomputing is a transformative technology and an extremely competitive field. IBM recently broke the petaflop barrier when its Roadrunner supercomputer succeeded in performing one thousand trillion calculations per second,” said Priya Vashishta, faculty executive director of HPCC.

Vashista is professor of chemical engineering, materials science and computer science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at USC College.

“The world’s fastest supercomputers, like Roadrunner, are mega-projects supported by national funding sources. It is very impressive that USC has succeeded in remaining in a leadership position without national funding,” Vashista said.

HPCC, an interdisciplinary partnership supported by numerous schools and departments across USC, draws upon the university’s strengths in scientific computing, computer science and communications by supporting more than 110 research groups in a variety of disciplines, including epigenetics, geophysics, materials science and the health sciences.

HPCC offers a combined main memory of more than 13 terabytes and a combined temporary disk storage of more than 400 terabytes.

“The university’s state-of-the-art data center has helped make it possible for us to achieve our new record of 30.99 teraflops,” said Maureen Dougherty, acting chief technology officer for USC’s Information Technology Services.