BlueRidge is Virginia Tech’s latest and largest computing asset. This Cray CS300-ACcluster was ranked in the Top500 list, the industry-standard ranking of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers. Its measured 86.3 teraflops—86.3 trillion floating point operations per second—is more than eight times the computing power provided by System X, which put Virginia Tech on the supercomputing map in 2003.

BlueRidge has 318 nodes (individual computers), each outfitted with two octa-core Intel Sandy Bridge central processing units (CPUs) and 64 gigabytes of memory. In addition, five nodes are equipped with 128 GB of memory for jobs that are especially memory intensive. The system-wide totals of 5,088 cores and 20.4 terabytes of memory are two and a half times as many cores and four times the memory of any other system at Virginia Tech. BlueRidge is also the first Sandy Bridge cluster at Virginia Tech. Sandy Bridge CPUs have the ability to do twice the number of double-precision computations in a single cycle as their predecessors, Intel Westmere CPUs.

By running massively-parallel simulations, Virginia Tech researchers will be able to tackle more complicated problems more quickly than they have before. And the system’s huge memory footprint will enable faculty to investigate the kinds of big data subjects that are increasingly the focus of attention in computationally-intensive arenas.