Maverick will replace TACC's Longhorn system, above. (Image courtesy TACC)The Texas Advanced Computer Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin, along with technology partners HP and NVIDIA, announced that they will deploy Maverick in January 2014, a unique, powerful, high performance visualization and data analytics resource for the open science and engineering community.

"Maverick will be deployed for open science research and is designed primarily for interactive, remote visualization and analytics," said Kelly Gaither, the principal investigator on the project and TACC's director of Visualization. "This system will help researchers analyze large scale scientific data, and complement systems like Stampede, by providing a rich, interactive data exploration environment."

Today, in addition to modeling and simulation, scientific discovery now also depends on statistics and probabilities to infer meanings from patterns in data. The explosive amount of digital data being generated, collected and captured has created an even greater need for parallel processing and interactive exploration capabilities, according to Gaither. Not all people think in terms of statistics and probabilities, but almost everyone thinks visually in varying degrees, she said.

Niall Gaffney, TACC's director of Data Intensive Computing, said: "This system will be great for Big Data analysis- every node in Maverick will have large memory, a state-of-the-art GPU accelerator, and be connected to massive data storage. Data scientists and all researchers will be able to use visual analysis techniques to explore data."

Thanks to generous funding from the O'Donnell Foundation, TACC is now expanding its data intensive computing infrastructure. In addition to launching Maverick in January 2014, TACC is deploying Stockyard this month, a 20 petabyte large-scale global file system. Other systems for storing and analyzing data sets and for hosting web portals and gateways that provide access to scientific data will be announced in 2014.

"We're extremely grateful to Peter O'Donnell and his foundation for supporting TACC's efforts to provide leadership class systems for data driven science and data intensive computing," said TACC Director Jay Boisseau.

Maverick system specifications include:

  • Comprised of five racks containing 132 HP ProLiant SL250s Gen 8 compute nodes and 14 HP ProLiant management, login, and Lustre router servers.
  • Each of the 132 compute nodes will include two ten-core Intel Xeon E5-2680 V2 processors with 256GB of DDR3 1866MHz memory each, a Mellanox Connect-X3 FDR InfiniBand FlexibleLOM adaptor, and one NVIDIA Tesla K40 GPU accelerator.
  • A Mellanox FDR InfiniBand interconnect will provide a high-performance communication platform.

"Increasingly the limiting factor in HPC systems performance is not just floating point performance but data movement," said Scott Misage, HPC engineering director at HP. "The new Maverick system is based on HP ProLiant compute nodes with NVIDIA Tesla K40 GPUs that offer double the GPU memory of previous GPUs, minimizing the need for data movement and enabling new levels of large scale scientific data analysis."

"Maverick is part of a growing trend in which researchers and technologists are expanding the use of accelerated supercomputers for big data analytics, in addition to traditional science," said Sumit Gupta, general manager of Tesla Accelerated Computing products at NVIDIA. "Combining HP ProLiant servers with Tesla K40 GPUs, the world's highest performance accelerators, will give TACC users the fastest computational horsepower for big data analytics with industry-leading visualization capabilities."

In addition, Maverick will offer cloud-like visualization capability and analytics through the ongoing evolution of TACC's remote visualization software. "We'll continue to offer our remote visualization suite and services leveraging traditional OpenGL-based visualization applications (VisIt, ParaView), commercial third-party applications (EnSight, Amira), and TACC-developed applications (DisplayCluster, GLuRay)," Gaither said.

Maverick, which replaces TACC's Longhorn system, will be available to the open science community in January 2014 through TACC's allocation process and the National Science Foundation's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment project.