UNC Chapel Hill Enhances Biomedical Research with Sun HPC System


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the nation's first state university, and a recognized leader in biomedical research. Many of the university's health sciences groups use high-speed applications for modeling and simulation, but wanted dedicated high-performance computing system resources to speed research and make faster progress.

In 2007, funding for a high-performance biomedical image analysis system was approved for seven UNC-CH research groups. Having used Sun products for more than 20 years, UNC-CH knew Sun could provide a highly-customized solution and better support for image-intensive applications and was interested in the company's recent HPC innovations.
Sun customer UNC Chapel Hill
(Image courtesy: UNC Chapel Hill)
Sun and UNC-CH worked together to design the grid-based HPC architecture throughout 2007, and began testing configurations in 2008. With the Sun Customer Ready Program, UNC-CH was able to cut hardware start-up time from six months to four weeks because the entire system had been built, configured, and tested in a Sun facility before shipment.

The UNC-CH grid was introduced to the research community in February 2009 and consists of 17 Sun Fire X4600 M2 Servers, each with sixteen 2.8GHz AMD Opteron processors. An additional X4600 M2 was installed as a backup, while another was installed as a file server attached to a Sun StorageTek 6140 array and a Sun StorageTek SL500 modular library system. The grid also includes 45 Sun Ultra 40 M2 Workstations.

“Users tell us how excited they are to be able to do things a hundred times faster than before,” said Russell M. Taylor II, research professor at University of North Carolina. “Implementing a high-performance computing solution from Sun Microsystems gave us the ability to move biomedical research forward at a faster pace.”

Check out the complete details here.

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