Irish Centre for High-End Computing achieves significant ranking in world superc

Friday, 25 November 2005

ICHEC, Ireland s first national high-performance computing facility, joins prestigious Top500 list at rank 205

Ireland s first dedicated supercomputing facility, the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), has shot straight to the upper half of the Top500, a definitive listing of the world s fastest supercomputers. ICHEC s ranking at 205 is a major achievement for the Centre, which was officially opened just three months ago, to provide the vast computational facilities increasingly in demand by Irish researchers.

"The Top500 list has been published semi-annually since 1993, and Irish computers have only appeared in the list twice, always near the bottom," said Dr. Andy Shearer, It Department of NUI Galway and Director of ICHEC. "ICHEC s ranking at 205 is a tremendous achievement, and shows the importance of the Government s investment into this kind of ICT infrastructure."

Now in its 26th edition, the Top500 is recognised by the global IT industry as the world s most definitive listing of supercomputing facilities. The list is in a constant state of flux, as high-end computing facilities all over the world continue to expand their capacity. The facilities listed at 500 in the current list, for example, would have ranked at 73 just a year ago.

"With this pace of development, it s essential that Ireland put sustained investment into high-performance computing resources, if we want to keep Irish scientists on a competitive footing with their international peers," said Dr. Shearer. "ICHEC s aim is to develop a proper infrastructure for Irish computational science, and this will only be possible if we invest in more powerful machines. I would like to see us reaching the top 50."

Non-commercial Irish researchers are already using ICHEC facilities to undertake dozens of computationally intensive projects in areas including climate modelling, comparative genomics, molecular research, astrophysics modelling and simulation and medical implants research. ICHEC plays an essential role in fulfilling the Government s objective of substantially increasing Ireland s R&D activity by 2010, including a doubling of R&D undertaken in the higher education and public sectors.

ICHEC is supported by a grant from Science Foundation Ireland and by contributions from two high-capacity computing projects funded by the Higher Education Authority s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions -- TCD s Institute for Information Technology and Advanced Computation (IITAC) and CosmoGrid.

"CosmoGrid is delighted with this ranking, which vindicates the decision to pool our own Higher Education Authority funds with those of ICHEC to obtain a substantially more powerful system than either of us could have obtained on our own," said Professor Luke Drury, Head of the School of Cosmic Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

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