University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute offers enhanced high performance computing resources to researchers with new Supercomputer powered by HP


  • Amy Danielson, Office of the Vice President for Research, (612) 625-1453,
  • Patty Mattern, University News Service, (612) 624-2801,

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (11/17/2009) —

The University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute for Advanced Computational Research (MSI) announced today its addition of HP ProLiant blade servers for a new high performance computing (HPC) system to support research across a broad range of disciplines. This powerful new system placed No. 67 on the November 17 TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers. The new system will increase MSI's high-performance computing capacity, improving its ability to support researchers at the University of Minnesota and across the state. Powered by 1,083 HP ProLiant BL280 G6 servers with 8,664 computing cores, the new supercomputer, named "Itasca" by MSI, delivers 97 teraFLOPS of theoretical computing performance—three times the aggregate theoretical peak performance of MSI's other core computing resources.

The HP supercomputer at MSI features 24 gigabytes of RAM per node, a 40 Gb QDR InfiniBand interconnect, and more than 150 terabytes of attached storage. With a dramatic increase in its number of cores, MSI anticipates substantially improved capacity for running applications to resolve research problems.

More than 4,000 active users across a wide range of disciplines utilize MSI's diverse computational resources, making MSI a focal point of collaborative research at the University of Minnesota. MSI currently supports almost 500 active research groups by providing complete high-performance computing environments including systems, software, storage, support, and services. MSI resources have helped these researchers to be awarded $103.9 million in external funding in the past year. With the new HP supercomputer, MSI will be well poised to expand its established role of serving engineering and the physical and life sciences, and to provide services to many disciplines not traditionally served by MSI.

"Today, high-demand computation is absolutely central to a wide array of important research areas that are vital to putting the University of Minnesota in a leadership position," said Tom Jones, interim director of MSI. "This new computing system is a big step above what most other universities can call on, so our faculty and students are really excited by the big boost in computational resources they will have to drive the frontiers of knowledge."

"To maximize the effectiveness of their new supercomputer, MSI needed high system performance combined with ease of deployment and energy efficiency," said Steve Cumings, director of marketing, Scalable Computing and Infrastructure, HP. "MSI's choice of HP ProLiant BL280c blade servers for their new system shows its value in a complex HPC environment, enabling MSI to expand their support and speed of active research, ultimately driving innovation."

Top 500 Rankings The TOP500 ranking of supercomputers is released twice a year by researchers at the University of Tennessee, University of Mannheim, Germany, and at NERSC Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The list ranks supercomputers worldwide based on the Linpack N*N Benchmark, a yardstick of performance that is a reflection of processor speed and scalability.

About MSI The University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute for Advanced Computational Research (MSI) is celebrating its 25th anniversary as an interdisciplinary research program spanning across all colleges of the University of Minnesota. MSI has established itself as a vital resource to the University of Minnesota by facilitating groundbreaking research, attracting top faculty and students, and enhancing researchers' competitive advantage in the search for external funding. For more information, visit

Visit MSI in booth 155 at the SC09 supercomputing conference in Portland, Oregon, today through Nov. 20 for demonstrations showcasing research at the University of Minnesota. More information about MSI at SC09 is available at