August 21, 2014

Terascala Enables Tech-X to Develop Scientific Applications for Big Data

BOSTON, Mass., Aug. 21 — Terascala, the industry leader in high-performance computing (HPC) management software, today announced that Tech-X Corporation (Boulder, Colo.) is using a high-performance storage appliance managed by Terascala software to help the company prototype big data driven scientific applications. Terascala’s software when combined with leading compute and storage systems creates the highest performance and most reliable solutions for applications operating on big data.

Tech-X specializes in developing the latest computational science applications to solve fundamental problems in physics, enabling breakthroughs in research, development, and design. Using cutting-edge computer modeling techniques, advanced visualization, and distributed computing technologies, Tech-X simulations run on hundreds of thousands of processor cores.

“Our compute cluster uses a high-performance storage appliance that is managed by Terascala to serve the on-site development of advanced scientific applications,” explained Anne M. Hammond, director of IT at Tech-X. “For example, these applications may require simulating electromagnetic wave propagation in fusion plasmas. A typical local analysis could involve up to several terabytes of data, which is made possible due to the superior performance delivered by the cluster and Terascala’s TeraOS software.”

Improving Research 

Tech-X simulates processes, devices, and physical systems related to electromagnetics, plasma physics, fusion, and accelerator technologies. A standout project created by Tech-X scientists involved the modeling of the electromagnetic waves that initiate fusion reactions.

To heat fusion plasmas to millions of degrees Celsius, scientists inject megawatts of electromagnetic energy from carefully engineered radiofrequency antennas. Tech-X models the complex interactions between the electromagnetic waves and plasma at increasing levels of detail, exploring basic physics processes that occur on or near the antenna surfaces. Simulations are first prototyped on a local cluster, then run at full scale at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility.

Accelerating I/O 

Prior to installing the high-performance storage appliance, Tech-X was using a legacy 96 core Linux cluster with gigabit networking and a Network File System (NFS). Large simulation files and limitations of NFS precluded Tech-X from utilizing parallel I/O operations, resulting in slower simulations and lower resolution results.

In contrast, the Terascala managed storage appliance has allowed Tech-X scientists to run fast, detailed simulations. “High resolution simulation results enable our customers to understand physical processes and greatly decrease their production and manufacturing costs,” concluded Hammond.

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