NIST Team Awarded One Million Hours on NASA Supercomputer
A team of researchers from NIST has been awarded 1,000,000 CPU hours on the
Columbia supercomputer at NASA Ames Research Center. The allocation is one of
four awards of supercomputer time given out by NASA in a peer-reviewed
competition for grand challenge computational science projects led by external
researchers. The successful NIST proposal was submitted by William George
and Judith Terrill of MCSD, along with Nicos Martys and Edward Garboczi of
The NIST Building and Fire Research Laboratory. Entitled "Modeling the
Rheological Properties of Suspensions: Application to Cement Based Materials"
the proposal stems from a long-term MCSD/BFRL collaboration on high performance
computer modeling of cement and concrete systems. This award of such a highly
sought after computing resource highlights the national importance and
technical challenges associated with concrete rheology, which has a tremendous
impact on the construction of concrete structures. Concrete construction is a
$110B per year sector of the US economy.
The team will use NASA's supercomputer to study the flow, dispersion and
merging of dense suspensions composed of rigid bodies having a wide range of
size and shape under a variety of flow conditions. Access to the NASA machine
will allow modeling at a level and range impossible with existing computing
facilities available at NIST. Current modeling of suspensions at NIST
facilities has been limited to a few thousand particles and a factor of five
to ten in particle size range. Utilization of NASA's Columbia system will
provide the capability to simulate suspensions an order of magnitude larger in
the number of inclusions and size range. The new realism of these models will
significantly improve the scientific basis for prediction and measurement of
the flow properties of concrete.
Columbia is a 10,240-CPU system based on SGI's NUMAflex architecture.
The system is comprised of 20 SGI Altix 3700 superclusters, each with 512 Intel
Itanium 2 processors (rated at 1.5 GHz). Each supercluster features 1 terabyte
of memory with global shared memory access, for a total of 20 terabytes of
memory system-wide. Columbia was put into production in June 2004.