Nor-Tech Builds HPC Cluster for LIGO Gravitational Wave Project

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Nor-Tech just announced that it built the HPC cluster for the LIGO Gravitational Wave Project simulation. The HPC Simulation Cluster was instrumental in the recent groundbreaking observation of gravitational waves.

Nor-Tech President and CEO David Bollig

Nor-Tech President and CEO David Bollig

From the beginning we have felt privileged to be a part of this project. Now, with this first observation we are absolutely thrilled.

Nor-Tech just announced that it built the HPC cluster for the LIGO Gravitational Wave Project simulation. The HPC Simulation Cluster, nicknamed ORCA (Orange County Relativity Cluster for Astronomy) was instrumental in the recent groundbreaking observation of gravitational waves.

Nor-Tech designed the supercomputer to collect data and process it with custom LIGO simulation software. It was ORCA that provided confirmation that the observed phenomenon was indeed a gravitational wave--the actual measurements fit the computer simulation exactly.

The cluster is housed at California State University, Fullerton in the University Data Center. It has more than 1500 gigabytes of memory, more than 30 terabytes of local storage, and 576 compute cores that together are capable of more than seven trillion operations per second. In addition to the LIGO gravitational waveform modelling and characterization algorithms, ORCA can simulate other astronomical phenomena such as neutron stars.

Nor-Tech President and CEO David Bollig said, “We have been working with the LIGO team for about 10 years on this. From the beginning we have felt privileged to be a part of this project. Now, with this first observation we are absolutely thrilled.”

The gravitational wave observation was officially announced on Feb. 11. It is the first physical evidence of a phenomenon Albert Einstein predicted in 1915 in his General Theory of Relativity. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe—in this case the collision of two black holes. The gravitational waves were picked up by the two LIGO detectors at Livingston, La. and Hanford, Wash. LIGO scientists estimate that the black holes collided to produce the wave about 1.3 billion years ago and were about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun.

The two black holes collided at one-half the speed of light and became a single massive black hole; during the process some of the black holes’ masses are converted to energy. This is what Einstein theorized with his famous E=mc2 formula. This energy is emitted as a final strong burst of gravitational waves, which is what LIGO observed.

The detection of gravitational waves came after a nearly 20-year search. It is the largest and most ambitious project ever funded by the National Science Foundation. The work of LIGO, supported by Nor-Tech’s ORCA, has forever changed the way researchers view and study the universe—ushering in a new era of gravitational wave astronomy.

In addition to ORCA and six other LIGO supercomputers at other universities, Nor-Tech continues to build powerful, leading-edge HPC clusters for premier research institutions and corporations around the world. They take the intimidation factor out of high performance computing by delivering a turnkey solution and promising no wait-time service—two reasons that the LIGO team chose Nor-Tech in the first place and continues to value their collaboration.

The LIGO team is an international consortium of leading technicians, engineers, scientists, and research institutions. The hope is that this first observation will spur the construction of a global network of detectors that enable widespread observation and interpretation of gravitational waves.

Winner of Microsoft’s prestigious Most Valuable System Builder Partner award and a 2015 HPCwire Readers’ Choice Award finalist, Nor-Tech (Northern Computer Technologies) is an industry-leading technology builder and reseller best known for providing turnkey, people-friendly high performance computing (HPC) solutions and software integration. In addition to HPCs, their custom technology includes workstations, desktops, and servers for a range of sectors including computer-aided engineering (CAE) and computer-aided design (CAD). Nor-Tech’s engineers average 20+ years of experience. They have been in business since 1998 and are headquartered in Burnsville, Minn. just outside of Minneapolis. Clients include some of the largest organizations in the world. To contact Nor-Tech call 952-808-1000/toll free: 877-808-1010 or visit http://www.nor-tech.com.

Full release at: http://www.nor-tech.com/category/news/    
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Jeanna Rensselar
Nor-Tech

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