HPC MSU

What is EMPIRE?

EMPIRE is the name of the newest computer system at the ERC at Mississippi State University. EMPIRE is a "Supercluster", which is a supercomputer-class cluster of workstations configured to be used like a supercomputer. EMPIRE is an acronym for the "ERC's Massively parallel Initiative for Research and Engineering".

EMPIRE is the fifth generation cluster built at the ERC. We began research into clusters in 1987 and have written a brief history of our clustering research.

How big is it?

EMPIRE is currently in its fourth and final phase. According to the Top500 Supercomputer Sites list published in June 2002, EMPIRE is the 126th most powerful computer in the world, and the 10th most powerful academic system in the U.S.

phase I (completed February 2001) included the following:

  • 264 processors consisting of 132 nodes, each with dual 1GHz Intel pentium III processors and 1 GB of RAM.

phase II (completed April 2001) upgraded the system to the following configuration:

  • 330 processors consisting of 164 SGI 1100 compute nodes, each with dual 1GHz Intel pentium III processors and 1 GB of RAM and 1 head node with dual 800MHz Intel pentium III processors and 1 GB of RAM.

phase III (completed October 2001) upgraded the system to the following configuration:

  • 586 processors consisting of 128 IBM x330 compute nodes, each with dual 1GHz Intel pentium III processors and 1.25GB of RAM; 164 SGI 1100 compute nodes, each with dual 1GHz Intel pentium III processors and 1 GB of RAM; and 1 head node with dual 800MHz Intel pentium III processors and 1GB of RAM. (head node)

phase IV (completed May 2002) upgraded the system to the following configuration:

  • 1038 processors consisting of 225 IBM x330 compute nodes, each with dual 1.266 GHz Intel pentium III processors and 1.25GB of RAM; 128 IBM x330 compute nodes, each with dual 1GHz Intel pentium III processors and 1.25GB of RAM; 164 SGI 1100 compute nodes, each with dual 1GHz Intel pentium III processors and 1 GB of RAM; and 1 SGI 1200 head node with dual 800MHz Intel pentium III processors and 1 GB of RAM.

For networking, we currently use the following:

  • 1 Extreme Networks 7i Gigabit ethernet switch (to connect the switches in each rack).
  • 9 Extreme Networks 48si 100Mb/s ethernet switches with Gigabit ethernet uplinks.
  • 7 Cisco 3548 100Mb/s ethernet switches with Gigabit ethernet uplinks.

Installed software includes the RedHat Linux operating system, the portable Batch System (pBS) for job scheduling, xCAT for systems management, and MPI/pro, LAM MPI, and MPICH for parallel communications.

We've compiled some additional "Fun Facts" about EMPIRE.

What is it used for?

EMPIRE is used for such varied research interests as computational fluid dynamics, remote sensing, computational physics, and automotive research. EMpIRE is typically very heavily utilized.

What does it look like?

We have a gallery of photos available. You can also see a diagram that shows how the communications network is designed.

EMPIRE in the news

EMPIRE has been featured in several press releases and news stories.