- design, development and operation of application-driven high-performance computer system (e.g., the series of APE machines, developed by INFN).
- algorithm development and physics analysis in compute-based areas of physics (Lattice Gauge Theory, Computational Fluid-Dynamics, Molecular Dynamics, Few- and Many-Body Nuclear Physics), Quantitative-Biology (Protein Folding), Bio-Informatics (Gene-Sequencing) and Medical Physics.
Aurora-Science can be seen as a scientific project enabled by leading-edge computational systems and by specific competences in the useful operation of these systems. The main goals of the Aurora-Science Project are the following:
Tailor the architecture of a massively parallel computer system to the specific needs of a large class of regular computational problems. This is done by assembling a large number of latest generation multi-core CPUs (Intel Nehalem, to be soon replaced by Intel Wesmere) and interconnecting them with a low-latency 3-D toroidal grid. The project uses the hardware recently introduced by Eurotech in their Aurora class of machines and re-designs and optimize the (FPGA-based) network processors of the torus network.
Procure and operate a medium size Aurora prototype machine, optimized for Aurora-Science. The envisaged installation will have in excess of 100 processing nodes with a target peak performance of some tens of TeraFlops. The project considers the prototype as a convincing test proof that large scale systems can be efficiently operated by a combination of off-the-shelf hi-end processors and application-driven interconnects. Following successfull operation of the prototype, the project will consider enlarged collaboration options, with the main goal of developing a PFlops class machine optimized for scientific applications and fully available to basic science.
Modify, tune, port and optimize for the Aurora-Science prototype key computational algorithms in the scientific areas described above, and show effectiveness for state-of-the-art scientific simulations.
AuroraScience is operated on the basis of a research agreement between IstitutoNazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) and the Provincia Autonoma di Trento (PAT). INFN and PAT jointly provide the Aurora-Science budget. The project officially started on August 1st, 2009, and is managed by ECT* in Trento. The scientific team of the project includes members from:
- ECT* - Project coordination, Lattice QCD and Nuclear Physics
- INFN (Ferrara, Milano Bicocca, Parma) - Torus network architecture, Application-specific system software, LQCD, Fluid-Dynamics
- Physics Department, University of Trento, Trento - Molecular Dynamics, NuclearPhysics
- DEI (Department of Information Engineering, University of Padova) - Network architecture, application-independent algorithmic optimization
- ATreP (Agenzia Provinciale per la Protonterapia) - Medical physics
- FEM (Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all' Adige) - Bio-informatics, gene sequencing.
A more in-depth description of the AuroraScience computer is available here
For further information contact Gigi Scorzato (scorzato (at) ectstar.eu)