Dell Deal Enhances Louisiana's High-Performance Networking

Louisiana's supercomputing network is receiving a boost courtesy of a new deal with Dell. The goal is to enhance the computing power of the new Louisiana Optical Networks Initiative that already is making the state's research computing capacity among the nation's best. That will place the state in prime position to receive some of the nation's top research grants. LONI will install six clusters comprised of Dell PowerEdge 1950 servers at the six LONI member campuses: Louisiana Tech, LSU, UL in Lafayette, University of New Orleans, Southern University and Tulane University. Each 132-node cluster will feature five teraflops of storage. In addition, LONI soon will install a network that features a 50 teraflop Intel Linux Cluster to be housed at the state's Information Systems Building in Baton Rouge. Five teraflops permits roughly 500 trillion calculations per second in the LONI network. "Never before could Louisiana really compete at the level we'll be able to compete now," said Les Guice, LONI management committee chairman and Louisiana Tech's vice president for research and development. Delivery of the new Dell equipment should start in about two weeks, Guice said, and should be fully functional no later than December. The new computers, along with additional system and hardware upgrades, will provide a significant increase in computational resources for academic research, including the ability to perform hurricane tracking and storm surge modeling at much higher speeds and with greater accuracy than currently possible. "These enhancements to LONI's computing power will make the network particularly attractive to the kinds of companies we need here to energize our state's high-tech economy," said Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. "These advances position LONI and Louisiana to become a world leader in supercomputing and emerging cyber technologies," said Charlie McMahon, LONI executive director. "LONI's impact on Louisiana's ability to attract federal research dollars was already being felt prior to last year's storms," said Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Savoie. "Now, as we anticipate an extended recovery period, LONI's potential impact on academic research and economic development is more important than ever. This enhanced computing power is welcome news for our devastated education and research infrastructure." "Now Louisiana researchers will not only have the most advanced optical network in the country, but will couple that with the most powerful distributed supercomputer resource available to any academic community," said Les Guice, Louisiana Tech University vice president for research and development and chair of the LONI Management Council. "This is a strong message to the rest of the world that Louisiana intends to be a leader in the knowledge economy." "These enhancements to LONI's computing power will make the network particularly attractive to the kinds of companies we need here to energize our state's high-tech economy," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said in a prepared statement. "That's why we're leveraging the state's investment in LONI by reserving 10 percent of the grid's computational power for the creation and retention of high-tech jobs. Simply put, any businesses in the state able to connect to LONI can use access to the network as an inducement to recruit companies that would benefit from world-class computational capacity."