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  • HBCU-RISE Hampton University: Advanced Physical Modeling and Simulation for 21st Century Scientists

    3D Torus

    From weather prediction to medical imaging to nuclear physics, numerical modeling and simulation have become central to the way we investigate and manipulate the physical world. Building on Hampton University’s expertise in Atmospheric Remote Sensing and Planetary Physics, the objective of the proposed project is to develop a complementary modeling and data analysis capability through the acquisition of a large, parallel computer cluster. The symbiosis between observation, analysis and modeling is a powerful dynamic for opening new frontiers of research. Working closely together, modelers can integrate more and better data to develop more realistic models and help to guide observers in developing more powerful observation methods and in identifying high-leverage measurements. A vital link in this exchange is the ability of models and analytical methods to incorporate the full value of the observations without physical over-simplification or excessive data reduction. The proposed infrastructure will enable the development high-resolution, high-fidelity physical models and data analysis tools capable of ingesting very large and het- erogeneous data sets. Specific research goals include computational fluid dynamics models of the Antarctic Circumpolar Jetstream to be integrated with analysis of multi-satellite, multi-instrument datasets, analysis of the planetary boundary layer for use in GCMs and comparison with LIDAR data, line-by-line radiative transfer models for interpreting limb sounding data, and parallel algorithm development taking advantage of structured matrices.

    The NSF-funded Hampton University Parallel Infrastructure for Research, Analysis, Training and Education (PIRATE) cluster will be a 48-node parallel computer connected in a 3-D torus configuration.  Each node has two 8-core Xeon CPUs and two 61-core Xeon Phi accelerators. The nodes are interconnected with a novel network (RONNIEE Express) enabling shared-memory operation, with nearest-neighbor latencies comparable to local memory access. Peak performance should be in excess of 50 TFlops for applications making efficient use of the accelerators. The PIRATE cluster will be housed at the research building of the National Institute of Aerospace who will provide security and physical support for the installation.

    The purpose of the HU PIRATE cluster is to increase Ph.D. production and enhance research competitiveness in the fields of science and engineering. Use of the cluster for proof-of-concept and preliminary computations by HU faculty is free, while production users may join the cluster user community by contributing hardware or logistical support. The cluster is managed by an advisory board including the PI, Dr. William B. Moore, who has provided a letter in support of the proposed project.