As described by Arden L. Bement, director of the National Science Foundation, “ the engine for change for the next revolution is cyberinfrastructure." Like other infrastructure, such as the electric power grid or national highways, cyberinfrastructure combines complex elements to create a dynamic system. These include hardware such as high-performance computers, sophisticated software, human expertise, and a diverse array of communities working in collaboration across a wide communications grid.
SDSC is an undisputed pioneer in the cyberinfrastructure revolution. The Center houses a unique combination of equipment, resources and expertise that, when combined, make it a local, state, and national treasure for major projects in science and engineering requiring complex information and coordinated technologies to make new discoveries.
Among SDSC’s capabilities:
- SDSC houses the Triton Resource, a high-impact, massive data analysis and preservation system that accelerates innovation and discovery through the use of leading-edge research cyberinfrastructure. The Triton Resource provides supercomputing capabilities in three key areas: a large-scale disk storage facility called Data Oasis; a data analysis facility for petascale research; and a shared research cluster. These resources are available to UCSD researchers, faculty, affiliates, government and commercial partners through innovative, locally supported, scalable hardware and software over multiple 10-gigabit networks extending from campus laboratories to the UC network, California, and the US .
- “Dash” is the first HPC system to use flash memory technology as an integrated, data-intensive resource primarily designed to support UC San Diego and UC researchers, in addition to researchers from the NSF XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment). Aside from its use of flash memory technology, using Intel High-Performance SATA Solid-State Drives, the system it has several other unique properties. For example, four of its nodes are specially configured as I/O nodes each serving up 1 terabyte (TB) of flash memory to any other node, courtesy of new I/O controllers also developed by Intel Corporation and integrated by Appro International, Inc. (One terabyte equals one trillion bytes of storage capacity). The system is expected to help researchers looking for solutions to particularly data-intensive problems that arise in astrophysics, genomics and many other domains of science.
- SDSC hosts the Protein Data Bank, a global resource of protein information tapped by about 20,000 users per day, with the goal of helping to design drugs for tomorrow’s medicine chest.
- SDSC is partnering with UCSD Libraries, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the University of Maryland in a data preservation project called Chronopolis, a geographically distributed data grid that supports the long-term management, stewardship, and access to digital collections. The system incorporates “trust” and reliability through replication, service level agreements, monitoring, and rule-based systems.
- SDSC is home to one of the first “OptiPortals,” connected to the NSF XSEDE via the “OptiPuter,” an optical network device widely viewed by high-performance computing experts and users as a key step in creating a computer cyberinfrastructure – allowing users to discover, reserve, and integrate remote computers, storage, and instruments.
- SDSC’s new data center is offering Colocation space for computer clusters to researchers who wish to maintain their servers in an energy-efficient center operated 24/7 by experts in operating these systems.