Blue Waters, an extraordinary research resource for advancing science and engineering, would not be possible without the support and on-going efforts from numerous partners. Blue Waters is a joint effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, its National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and Cray. It is supported by the National Science Foundation, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the state of Illinois. Suppliers, subawardees and other collaborators including Cray, AMD, NVIDIA, IBM, NetSource, Shodor Foundation, University of Tennessee, GLCPC, and University of Michigan are instrumental to the success of the Blue Waters project. During the deployment phase, NCSA also collaborated with other institutions such as RENCI, LSU, PNNL, UCSD, and University of Chicago.
Cray, a global leader in supercomputing is the supplier of the Blue Waters computational system, consisting of 244 racks of Cray XE6 nodes, 44 racks of Cray XK7 nodes with NVIDIA® GK110 Kepler GPUs. Leveraging 40 years of experience in developing the world's most advanced supercomputers, Cray technology is designed to enable scientists and engineers to achieve remarkable breakthroughs by accelerating performance, improving efficiency and extending the capabilities of their most demanding applications.
World-class technology providers joined with Cray to deliver a comprehensive and advanced system. NVIDIA contributed powerful many-core GPU processors (GK110 Kepler GPUs) and AMD provided multi-core scalar processors. Xyratex, a leader in data storage contributed with its Lustre ® file system architecture, development and support. At 20PB, the Blue Waters file system is the largest Lustre file system worldwide. For its near-line storage system, Blue Waters enlisted NetSource to deploy and support a Spectra Logic large-scale automated tape library with a capacity of >250 PB. The HPSS software is provided by IBM. The nearline subsystem was decommissioned 3/31/2020.
The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences and the National Institute for Computational Sciences at the University of Tennessee (UTK) worked with the NCSA staff to increase quality and reduce risks in the rapid deployment and transition to operations of the Blue Waters system.
The Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation has played a defining role in the Blue Waters project since its inception. The GLCPC is a collaboration among colleges, universities, national research laboratories, and other educational institutions. The consortium facilitates the widespread and effective use of petascale computing through the development of new computing software, applications, and technologies.
Shodor Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving students and educators by providing materials and instruction relating to computational science, spearheaded the undergraduate education activities in the Blue Waters project. Through a systematic effort of materials development, faculty workshops, and student internships, Shodor works to increase the nation's capabilities to address the educational opportunities offered by petascale computing across all undergraduate fields and to broaden participation in high performance computing.
As part of the Blue Waters project, Shodor oversaw and managed 35 undergraduate interns and their mentors across the country working on projects related to petascale computing. Additionally, Shodor managed the development of more than 30 modules developed in an effort to support undergraduate faculty in preparing a diverse community of students for petascale computing.
Blue Waters collaborates with XSEDE on a multitude of areas in order to enhance the ability for the national science and engineering research and education community to productively use the resources and services in both projects. The two projects use common technologies and practices for their user portals, documentation provisioning, libraries and tools, networking and cyber-protection, data transfer, scientific visualization, system testing and usage accounting and analysis. Other collaboration areas include co-leading education, training and outreach activities, and sharing internally-developed software tools. Additionally, Blue Waters and XSEDE will exploit synergies in science team support and other areas funded by the Blue Waters NEIS-P2program.