ICL Hardware

As the new GPU hybrid computing paradigm leads the evolution of computational hardware into Petascale computing, computing architectures are increasingly changing. However, the programming tools, applications, and algorithms that form the backbone of the ever growing need for greater performance are equally as important. Such myriad hardware/software configurations present unique challenges that require testing and development of applications that are often unique to the platform on which they reside. For this reason, it is imperative that we have access to a wide range of computing resources in order to conduct our cutting-edge research.


To meet these challenges, ICL has access to multiple state-of- the-art heterogeneous systems in house. In fact, our hardware industry partners, including AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA, provide us with bleeding edge hardware resources (often under NDA and prior to public release) which we use to upgrade and maintain the lab’s infrastructure. Our research staff also has access to other campus resources, including UTK’s Newton Cluster.


ICL has access to many local resources in East Tennessee to help keep us at the forefront of enabling technology research, including some machines that are regularly found on the TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. The recent modernization of the DOE’s National Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS), just 30 minutes away at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has enabled us to leverage our ORNL collaborations to take advantage of what has become one of the world’s fastest scientific computing facilities. ORNL houses Titan, a Cray XK7 supercomputer, which currently holds the number two spot on the TOP500 at 17.59 petaflop/s.

The National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS), a joint UT/ORNL computing facility in Oak Ridge, houses Kraken, UT’s Cray XT5 system which is one of the world’s fastest open-science supercomputers. NICS is also home to Beacon, an Appro Xtreme-X Supercomputer which topped the Green500 list in November 2012, and held the number three spot in June 2013, making it one of the most energy efficient supercomputers in the world.


With the continuing trend of high performance grid and cloud computing, it is important for ICL to have access to these types of infrastructures in order to test and implement our software packages on grid hardware and virtualized environments. In keeping with this goal, research staff members at ICL have access to grid resources all over the US, as well as in Europe, including XSEDE, Grid5000, and FutureGrid.