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Research Abstracts Online
January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Institute of Technology
School of Physics and Astronomy
Department of Astronomy

PI: Paul R. Woodward, Fellow

Interactive Supercomputing

These researchers use MSI’s supercomputers for interactive supercomputing, in which massive, realistic calculations can be evaluated and adjusted while they are being run. Without interactive supercomputing, researchers have to wait hours or days for the calculations to run to completion before being able to view the results. This makes it difficult to apply them to complex and timely problems such as weather behavior or to evaluate quickly how well the calculations modeled the desired important physics or engineering problem. Interactive supercomputing makes it possible to quickly evaluate the calculation as it is underway, report on the behavior, or revise and adjust the calculation without waiting for it to run to completion.

The researchers will be using MSI’s newest computer system, Itasca, when it completes testing. Only a local center has the capability to provide the very high bandwidth data connection to a supercomputing resource that true interactive supercomputing demands. Itasca has sufficient scale to enable this use in a way that should not unduly disrupt other MSI activities. Previous work in interactive supercomputing has been performed on the Calhoun system. The researchers also wish to exploit the potential 40 Gbit/sec link from their lab, the Laboratory for Computational Science and Engineering (LCSE), to the MSI machine room to perform special large runs from which detailed visualization output will be processed into movies. These movies will help guide the group’s scientific work and will also be used in outreach activities. When technical issues are resolved, the 40 Gbit/s link to MSI’s Itasca machine will make possible special runs with up to an order of magnitude more data output than could normally be requested from a remote center. The scientific focus of this effort is in the study of the brief stages of stellar evolution in which three-dimensional effects play a dominant role. The researchers are also obtaining detailed data that they use for the formulation and validation of models of the turbulent flow phenomena that are involved in these stars.

Group Members

William Dai, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico
Chris Freyer, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico
Tyler Fuchs, Undergraduate Student
Jim Greensky, Graduate Student
Falk Herwing, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Jagan Jayaraj, Graduate Student
Michael Knox, Staff
A. J. Larson, Graduate Student
Pei-Hung Lin, Graduate Student
Tony Nowatzki, Graduate Student
Karl Stoffels, Undergraduate Student