Personal tools
You are here: Home UiT Archive The New Cluster at UiT PRESS RELEASE: Scandinavia’s largest Supercomputer to Tromsø

PRESS RELEASE: Scandinavia’s largest Supercomputer to Tromsø

by toj000 last modified Sep 12, 2007 01:21 PM

Scandinavia’s largest Supercomputer to Tromsø

On Friday 7 September 2007 University of Tromsø (UiT) and Hewlett Packard (HP) Norway will sign an agreement on the delivery of the largest Supercomputer in Scandinavia. The installation is scheduled as early as mid-October 2007, and will consist of a massive 60 teraflop/s compute cluster. The new supercomputer will be 30 times more powerful than the current system at the University of Tromsø, which was installed in 2005. The total cost of the installation is expected to be more than 40 mill NOK ( 6,7 mill. USD), when expenses to machine room, cooling, and power during the systems life-cycle is taken into consideration.

”For the University of Tromsø this is the result of a strategic focus on modelling and simulation as the third way to do research,” explains Director of IT, Magnar Antonsen, at UiT. “Our statistics show that researchers and scientists that make use of supercomputers are more productive and are able to get their results published faster than their competitors. With the new installation UiT will be able to provide researchers in Tromsø with the best infrastructure both nationally and internationally. This is very important to a relatively small university as UiT, as it gives our researchers a head start in a highly competitive arena.”

Antonsen does not wish to speculate how big the new system will be compared to others on the top500. “Traditionally we have not cared much for such competitions, but we expect the new system to be well placed amongst the 50 most powerful systems in the world. At the point of installation it will already be three times more powerful than the largest systems in Sweden and Finland combined.”

The new cluster is the product of a good co-operation between UiT and the national HPC Company “UNINETT Sigma”. In total 7 vendors challenged each others for the contract, but HP excelled in most areas. Not only did the chosen vendor offer more volume and power than the others, but the high-density blade-based technology provides UiT with possibilities for further expansion and good scaling capabilities. In total will the new system have 5632 Intel compute-cores, over 12 Terabyte of distributed memory and more than 200 Terabyte of storage.

The cluster will be 15 meters long and weigh more than 16 tons. To house the monster UiT has designed and equipped a completely new 100 square meter machine room. Each rack will be water cooled, and all cables in terms of power, network and infrastructure will be connected through a 4 level gate-system hanging from the ceiling. Every measure is taken to be able to install and power-up the system as quickly as possible. The last system at UiT consisted of 5 racks and was installed in less than 4 hours; the question everybody is asking is if the record can be broken this time.

HP Norway’s Sales Director Britt Fidjestøl is very satisfied with the delivery to UiT. “To be chosen to deliver Scandinavia’s biggest compute cluster is a great achievement for HP. This is a very exciting place to be and confirms that HP is a leading company in the area of Supercomputing. HPs innovative technology will also ensure that UiT will benefit from getting a more cost efficient and flexible solution. One focus area has been to lower the power consumption and cooling costs.”

Director Jacko Koster in UNINETT Sigma, the company which has co-funded the new system, is also satisfied with the process. “The new system at UiT is a great boost for the Norwegian research community. It will increase the total amount of compute cycles significantly and the chosen technology will be a great supplement to the other available resources in the national program.”

The new supercomputer will be specifically targeted towards theoretical and computational chemistry, an area that UiT was awarded a Centre of Excellence in December 2006. The new system will be an important tool to ensure that the Centre fulfils its goals as well as provide other important fields of research with increased compute power. The new system will also give UiT higher visibility and make the university more appealing both to new students and researchers in the fields of computation.

Researchers at the Norwegian universities, colleges and research institutes can apply for compute cycles on the new system through the NOTUR project at

Facts per node:

Machine type (node)
Blade HP BL 460c
Processor 2
Processor type Intel Xeon 2,66GHz
Core technology Quad Core
Theoretical node peak performance
85,12 Gigaflop/s
Internal memory (node)
16 GB (50 systems w/32GB)
Internal storage (node)
120 Gigabyte

Gigabit Ethernet
+ 384 systems w/Infiniband

Facts for the whole system:

Total compute racks
Total infrastructure racks
Total storage racks
Total number of compute nodes
Total number of compute cores
Total  internal memory
12 Terabyte
Total internal storage (disk)
84 Terabyte
Total centralized storage (disk) 128 Terabyte
Theoretical peak performance
60 Teraflop/s
15m x 1,3m x 2m (w x d x h)
Weight 16 000 kg

Additional information:

High Performance Computing at UiT:

Center of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry at UiT:


Hewlett Packard Norway:


During the installation of the four-levcel power and infrastructure rails.

Overview Aug 2007

(Photo: Svenn A. Hanssen, UiT)

More pictures from the Machine room is available here.

Blade system.

A completely filled blade-rack. 4 cases with 16 HP BL460c blades. Each blade has 2 Intel Xeon quad-core processors, giving a total of 512 compute cores per rack. 11 racks with a total of 5632 cores and a peak performance of 60 Teraflop/s will be installed at UiT in October 2007.

HP BladeSystem BL460c

(Photo: HP Norway)

Document Actions