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UAE University rolls out 8 teraflop grid computer

Sun Microsystems and UAE University CIT create advanced computing grid

The UAE University has assembled a computing grid capable of processing up to 8.3 teraflops.

The grid, which consists of 100 Sun blades, was developed by the university's College of IT (CIT) and Sun Microsystems, and will be used to provide general computing power for teaching and research.

The grid is a virtualized super computer that can run multiple operating systems and handle tasks for multiple operators simultaneously, and is the largest such deployment in the Middle East.

Access to the grid will be through twenty SunRay thin client devices, in two labs at the CIT, and the university also plans to connect to other grids worldwide.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Khanbashi, vice chancellor of UAE University commented: "The UAE University is pleased to partner with Sun Microsystems to develop a unique grid computing laboratory in service of the university and the greater scientific community. The University is looking forward to working with Sun to develop new grid-enabled applications, from energy to medicine, and contribute in a meaningful way to the global grid development initiatives."

The blade servers used by the grid are twin socket, quad-core machines, which can use either Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron processors, to provide flexibility and easy expansion.

The CIT is primarily involved in research around computing applications for the petroleum industry, including seismic and oil-reservoir simulation, along with applications for bioinformatics, multimedia, and e-learning.

Dr Rafic Makki, dean of UAE University, College of IT said: "The mission of the grid computing laboratory at the College of IT at the UAE University is to provide talented students and researchers with an exciting environment to design and implement efficient solutions for computing-intensive applications. The college looks forward to investigate issues that are important to world-wide grid computing such as security and service level agreements."

The grid ranks among the top five hundred most powerful computing systems in the world. The current fastest is IBM’s BlueGene/L at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US, which clocks at 478.2 teraflops. Tarek Ayass, education and research regional manager for Sun Microsystems commented: "Sun is delighted to have the UAE University as a new member to Sun's High Performing Computing community. Sun's goal is to provide support for educational and industrial research in the region, and collaborate with international Grid initiatives to lead international research toward the global grid; the next generation of the Internet."

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