Computing and Atlas
The Atlas Computing Cluster is the world's largest and most powerful resource dedicated to gravitational wave searches and data analysis.
Atlas was officially launched in May 2008 with 1344 quad-core compute nodes. One month later it was ranked number 58 on the June 2008 Top-500 list of the worlds fastest computers. At that time it was the sixth fastest computer in Germany.
It was also the worlds fastest computer that used Ethernet as the networking interconnect! This is notable because Ethernet is a relatively inexpensive networking technology. The faster machines on the Top-500 list all used costlier interconnects such as Infiniband or proprietary technologies. This means that worldwide Atlas came in at the front of the performance/price competition. In recognition of this, Atlas received an InfoWorld 100 award for being one of the 100 best IT solutions for 2008.
Currently, Atlas consists of more than 2500 compute nodes, each one with at four, six or 26 physical CPU cores. Additionally, we have about 2000 GPUs installed where dedicated programs can be run on. Atlas can store 5 Petabytes on hard drives and 4.5 Petabytes on magnetic tape for data archiving. Its theoretical peak computing power is more than 1 PetaFLOP/s. To connect all compute nodes, a total of 15 kilometers of Ethernet cables have been used. The total bandwidth is about 20 Terabit/s. Currently more than 1000 scientist are registered as users.
Atlas is the most powerful computer cluster in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. It contributes roughly half of the entire compute power available within the collaboration.
The Atlas Wiki is available here.