RALEIGH, N.C. — IBM will provide Unix-powered servers along with software and services to enhance the power of the grid computing project for the Southeastern Universities Research Association.

The group, called SURA, has a strong North Carolina connection, with much of the administrative work being done at North Carolina State University, according to an IBM spokesperson. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is also part of the project.

The SURAgrid upgrade is expected to double the capacity of the organization’s research efforts.

The grid will have the potential to perform 10 trillion calculations per second, IBM and SURA said in a statement.

“Using grids to harness the supercomputing power of some of America’s finest academic institutions enhances collaboration, reduces computing time and helps scientists tackle complex challenges like hurricane prediction and human genome sequencing,” said Ken King, vice president of IBM Grid Computing. “IBM is proud to have provided grid computing solutions to academic and medical research projects in the past and we’re excited to be part of SURAgrid.”

IBM will work with SURA under a three-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The servers will first be installed at Louisiana State University and Georgia State University followed by Texas A&M this fall.

Grid computing enables disparate computers and networks to be linked as a single virtual entity.

National LamdbaRail, which has strong connections to NCSU and MCNC in RTP, provides the high-speed backbone linking SURA members.
Middleware for applications will be provided by Globus.org.

A point of emphasis for researchers on the SURAgrid will be study of coastal storm surges. SURA has developed a program for storm surge study called SCOOP, or SURA Coastal Ocean Observing and Prediction.
IBM System p575 servers will be used. Each has 16 microprocessors and 32 gigabytes of memory.

SURAgrid members include:

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • University of Arkansas
  • Bowie State University
  • University of Florida
  • George Mason University
  • Georgia State University
  • Great Plains Network
  • Kennesaw State University
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Louisiana State University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Michigan
  • Mississippi Center for SuperComputing Research
  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • North Carolina State University
  • Old Dominion University
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Southern California
  • Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA)
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)
  • Texas Tech
  • Tulane University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Virginia
  • SURA: www.sura.org