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Poland's supercomputer among Europe's top 10

April 21, 2008 //

Researchers at the Technical University of Gdansk in Poland have been running Central and Eastern Europe's most powerful supercomputer, which is ranked ninth in computing power in the European Union.


BERLIN — Researchers at the Technical University of Gdansk in Poland have been running Central and Eastern Europe's most powerful supercomputer, which is ranked ninth in computing power in the European Union.

The "Galera" supercomputer, capable of 50 trillion operations per second (TFLOPS), runs on 1,344 quad-core Intel Xeon processors and has the power of 5,376 computing cores, according to Rafal Tylman, chief administrator of the Academic Computer Center at the Technical University of Gdansk.

It has been used for research in chemistry and physics but officials are beginning to look at commercial applications such as mechanical simulations for industry, Tylman said.

The Galera's history goes back nine years ago when the university collaborated with Intel Corp to produce the first generation. University researchers looked to cluster supercomputing as a cost-effective alternative to a traditional supercomputer.

"We started with clusters nine years ago because IBM and Silicon Graphics supercomputers were too expensive for us," Tylman said. "Clusters were not popular at this time, but it turned out we had no problems."

Intel, which has an office in Gdansk, cooperated throughout the years with the university by advising on the configuration and providing a roadmap for its processors. The machine has gone through several generations, the latest in February 2008, he said.

The Galera cost 2M euros ($3.2M) and was funded by the university and the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Poland has a total of five supercomputers at research facilities in Warsaw, Poznan, Wroclaw and Krakow, though they are not as powerful as the Galera, Tylman said.

Most of Europe's supercomputers are in the Western part. Currently Europe's most powerful supercomputer and the world's second fastest, is IBM's Blue Gene/P, capable of more than 200 TFLOPS and located in JŸlich, Germany.

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