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Friday, 24 August 2012
Researcher Peter Hannay with ORAC, the school's new low power, high speed computing platform leveraging the power of GPUs
ORAC was created by the ECU's School of Computer and Security Science in order to provide a platform for high speed processing of research data, this is achieved by leveraging the OpenCL architecture and spreading compute load across 25 graphics processor units. The hardware platform was developed using low cost off the shelf computing components with custom open air enclosures for maximum heat dissipation. A total of 35,200 compute cores spread across the five discrete systems are available to researchers, providing over 55 teraflops of processing capacity which is the equivalent to over 500 high end desktop computers. The power consumption of ORAC comes in at just under 12 kilowatt when running at maximum load, where an equivalent CPU based cluster would consume over 400 kilowatt of power. This results in a reduction of almost 5,000 tonnes of greenhouse gasses per year. ORAC represents a step forward in low cost, low power consumption supercomputing, enabling researchers to perform intensive physical simulations, complex visualisation and real-time analysis of encrypted data streams.