MANILA, February 17, 2006
 (DOST) by Janet Rosalie Anne H. Polita RIUD-PCASTRD (For more information please contact: February 2006 DR. VIRGINIA G. NOVENARIO-ENRIQUEZ Tel Nos. 837-3071 loc. 2102-2109)

DOST-PCASTRD supports supercomputer facility Supercomputer research facility to spawn novel and advanced S&T researches.

A high performance computing research facility, set up with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) thru the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD), was recently unveiled at the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD). The facility has the capacity to provide solutions to complex mathematical problems in various fields of advanced science and technology. Further, it is expected to be the most powerful provider of computing requirements for the University and the country in general.

DOST-PCASTRD Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo Ebora said "The high performance computing facility could spawn advanced S&T researches, particularly in bioinformatics and biotechnology which are among PCASTRD's priority programs." He added that the facility should be open to institutions outside UP to be able to benefit more researchers and scientists, and thus, produce more novel researches for the country's development.

On the other hand, UPD Chancellor Sergio Cao said that they share PCASTRD's goal of advancing science and technology in the Philippines. He added that they are committed in ensuring that the facility will be sustained.

UPD College of Science Dean Rhodora Azanza said they intend not only to enhance their R&D but also their capability to protect the technologies that will be generated thru the computing facility.

The supercomputer facility, which is housed at UP Diliman's Computational Science Research Center (CSRC), could perform tasks like predicting weather changes or global warming effects, structural analysis, electronic design, scientific simulations graphics (animated), and the like. Such computational applications are usually involved in researches in advanced fields like physics, chemistry, mathematics, geological sciences, metereology, volcanology, and genomics.

Supercomputers refer to mainframe computers with ultra-high speed computing performance where scientific calculations and simulations are made in just a few minutes. Picturing galaxies and intergalactic matter that may not be possible to perform in real time on personal computers could easily be performed by supercomputers. Further, automotive industries are relying on supercomputers to solve design modification and engineering issues in just minutes or hours.

Dr. Vincent Ricardo Daria, Director of CSRC, said the facility is composed of desktop computers using open source operating systems. Further, the supercomputer consists of 64 nodes of 3.2 Ghz dual processor computers.

Earlier DOST's Engineering and Science Education Project (ESEP) had provided support for the hardware and network infrastructure of the high-computing performance facility. This time, PCASTRD provided funding for the purchase of 32 dual processor, high-performance servers, computational experiment softwares, desktop computers and high-speed switch.

"As a benchmarking, the performance of a single computer would have three gigaflops and further increasing the number of processor to 60 would give 20 gigaflops. But with our current 64-node computer clusters, we hope to achieve 80 gigaflops," Dr. Daria said.

Supercomputer speed is usually measured in terms of floating point operations per second (FLOPS), in units of megaflops (MFLOPS), gigaflops(GFLOPS), and tera flops (TFLOPS) which refer to millions, billions and trillions of FLOPS, respectively.

"We hope that through this facility, we would be able to encourage collaboration among various institutions to conduct more new and scientific discoveries that would have great impact to the country, " Dr. Daria said. (Department of Science and Technology, Republic of the Philippines)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved