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Terrawulf II

Malcolm Sambridge, Herb McQueen, Shinta Bonnefoy

Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia


TerraWulf is a networked cluster of computers set up in RSES to provide convenient high end computing power for a range of demanding geoscience problems. A major upgrade of the TerraWulf compute cluster was recently made possible by funding support from the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) under the AuScope umbrella. Contributions from the AuScope Geospatial, Imaging and Structure, and Access and Interoperability components combined with support from RSES have enabled the construction of a new and more powerful cluster.  The hardware was delivered and assembled in 2007 and commissioning and benchmarking continued through the first half of 2008.

On Friday 27th June 2008 TerraWulf II was launched at the Research School of Earth Sciences by Acting Director Prof. Ross Griffiths. It has a total of 24 Tb of disk storage and 1Tb of RAM and was built to tackle large complex computational problems in the Earth Sciences using parallel processing techniques. 'TII', is the latest in a long line of Geoscience computing platforms at the RSES which stretch back more than 30 years. Projects initially identified for TII include applications in seismic imaging of Earth structure, geospatial data analysis and mathematical geophysics.  TII is open for access by the Australian Earth Science community for projects consistent with the AuScope vision to '…characterise the structure and evolution of the Australian continent from surface to core in space and time.' It is accessible directly through a local account and via the AuScope grid.

The main cluster consists of 96 nodes (384 processor cores) connected through Gigabit and Infiniband switches which support a range of potential applications of the cluster including both 'tight' and 'loosely coupled' codes.  Each node is an IBM System x3455 with 2 AMD Opteron Dual-core 2.8 GHz processors, 160 GB local disk and 9GB to 17GB RAM.  All the nodes are interconnected through SMC8848 Gigabit Ethernet switches, and half of the cluster is also inter-connected via three 24port Voltaire ISR9024S Infiniband switches providing 10Gbit inter-process communication. Compute nodes are configured with Open SUSE 10.3 and two kinds of MPI environment, MPICH2 and VLTMPI, have been installed to enhance paralled processing applications. It is accessible directly through a local account and via the AuScope grid.

The TerraWulf II cluster is now running a variety of geoscience data processing, technique development, simulation and analysis codes. Current projects include studies of atmospheric effects in GPS analysis, ocean overturning circulation and Earth's inner core structure & geodynamo, as well as multi-arrival wavefront tracking seismic tomography, inversion of airborne electromagnetic data, development of nonlinear inversion methods, implementation of earthquake source parameter inversion, and high-resolution ambient noise tomography.