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NCSA Hits One Million CPU Hours in a Month

Abstract HPC System with white lights and the 35 NCSA anniversary logo

August 1999 marked the first time usage of a National Science Foundation high-performance computer topped one million normalized CPU hours in one month. According to figures from Quantum Research, which measures computer usage at NSF-support sites, NCSA’s 1,536-processor SGI Origin2000 supercomputer provided 1,136,676 normalized CPU hours to 736 national users in August, tripling the usage from August 1998. A normalized CPU hour is equivalent to a Cray X-MP processor hour, based on standard benchmarks.

“By having uninterrupted access to the NCSA Origin 256-processor system for over a week, we were able to carry out the most highly resolved cosmological simulation ever done,” said Jeremiah Ostriker, a cosmologist at Princeton University whose team used almost 175,000 hours.

“With this level of computational resolution, new cosmological test of competing models of the universe against the observations are now possible.”

Researchers in cosmology used the most time on NCSA’s systems in August, logging nearly 400,000 normalized CPU hours. Chemists were also big users, followed by molecular biologists, materials researchers, physicists, and atmospheric scientists. The 400,000 hours logged by cosmology researchers in August was larger than NCSA’s total monthly usage for any month before February 1999.

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