Feb. 12, 2007
UI Receives Grant Of Supercomputer For Use In Medical Imaging
University of Iowa researchers who rely on high performance computing (HPC) recently received a boost, thanks to the grant of a supercomputer valued at about $500,000 from Intel Corporation to the university.
Jun Ni, a research scientist in the Academic Technology Research Services unit of the University of Iowa's Information Technology Services (ITS), acknowledged the grant during the recent 18th IEEE/ACM Supercomputing Conference held in November 2006 in Tampa, Fla.
Ni says that the computer -- already installed at the UI's research computing facility at the Eckstein Medical Research Building and operated and managed by the Research Services Group of ITS -- "is the fastest computer on the UI campus and increases UI computation power for medical imaging." In technical terms, he says, "The system has 96 processors with Intel's fastest chip. It can handle 3.4 teraflops computation, 10 giga-bit-per-second interconnection, 196 aggregated gigabyte memory and 5 terabyte storage." How fast is that? Roughly 1,500 times faster than the average desktop computer.
Richard Libby of Intel's Technology Initiatives Enabling/HPC Technical Marketing Engineer Digital Enterprise Group initiated the grant. Libby said that the computer will significantly increase computed tomography (CT) image resolution, thereby improving digitalized diagnostic systems. The computer will enable the UI and Intel to continue to pursue collaborative research in advanced computing that supports a variety of research fields, including medical imaging.
Based on the agreement, Intel and Ni's research group will continue to collaborate in many high performance computing areas including the hosting of training workshops, exploring system benchmarks, and co-sponsoring international collaborative programs. The UI and Intel plan to demonstrate their collaborative work at a November 2007 supercomputing conference in Reno, Nev.
The system helps UI researchers explore new HPC technology and it provides useful technical management experience for developing the UI's next generation high performance computing facility, thereby helping meet the University's emerging cyberinfrastructure needs, according to Boyd Knosp, director of ITS Research Computing Services.
Dr. Laurie Fajardo, UI professor and head of radiology in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, said that the high performance computing and data-intensive computing made possible by the grant will continue to play a crucial role in developing innovative technology essential to the improvement of future health care.
In acknowledging Intel's grant in support of UI medical imaging, Dr. Richard Hichwa, UI associate vice president for research and professor of radiology in the Carver College of Medicine, said that the supercomputer strengthens UI computing and enables researchers to design a cyberinfrastructure to support large-scale computing, promote the UI's competitiveness and pursue additional external funding.
Ni, who has aided the UI research computing community for many years, also serves as adjunct associate professor in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering in the College of Engineering. A partial listing of the research projects he has assisted includes the fields of medical imaging, computational fluid dynamics, bioinformatics, computational chemistry and physics, and nanotechnology.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.
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