Caltech Constructs Earthquake Supercomputer

Pasadena-based Caltech said yesterday that it has created what it calls one of the most powerful computer clusters in the academic world to analyze earthquakes. The university said that it has created a 2,048-processor supercomputer as part of a new Geosciences Computational Facility in its Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. The new supercomputing cluster fills a 20 by 80-foot room at Caltech and cost $5.8M, and requires 500 kilowatts of power and 90 tons of air conditioning to operate. The system is built on Dell, Myricom, and Intel technology and was funded by the National Science Foundation. Caltech said that the CIterra cluster is built on Beowulf clustering technology, and will be used to create 3-D simulations of seismic events, along with other research. Beowulf technology is a Linux-based, open source clustered operating system widely used for high performance computing (HPC) applications.