Professor developing numerical tools for astrophysical modeling with the help of Anvil supercomputer

Purdue’s powerful new Anvil supercomputer is helping unlock the secrets of space weather.

Asif ud-Doula, an associate professor of physics at Penn State Scranton, develops numerical tools to model the stellar winds of massive stars. He uses three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), a very computationally intensive modeling method.

3D MHD simulations of a massive star wind. Image courtesy of Asif ud-Doula.

Generating a single 3D MHD model requires more than 60,000 core hours, estimates ud-Doula. That’s the equivalent of running a personal computer for several years, but he achieved it using hundreds of Anvil cores in less than two weeks.

Ud-Doula and his collaborators have taken advantage of Purdue Research Computing expert staff support for Anvil, as well as the Slack channel for Anvil early users.

“When you’re trying to do science, you don’t want to spend a lot of time resolving technical issues,” says ud-Doula. “Having someone to help us with that was a tremendous benefit.”

Anvil has now completed its early user testing phase and is available for the general public to use. Researchers may request access to Anvil via the XSEDE allocation process.

Anvil consists of 1,000 nodes with two 64-core third-generation AMD EPYC processors each, and will deliver over 1 billion CPU core hours to XSEDE each year, with a peak performance of 5.1 petaflops. Anvil's nodes are interconnected with 100 Gbps Mellanox HDR InfiniBand. The supercomputer ecosystem also includes 32 large memory nodes, each with 1 TB of RAM, and 16 nodes each with four NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs providing 1.5 PF of single-precision performance to support machine learning and artificial intelligence applications.

Research on Anvil will be able to leverage a diverse set of storage technologies, anchored by a 10-plus PB parallel filesystem, boosted with over 3 PB of flash disk. Novel workflows will benefit from block and object storage systems also supported by Anvil.

More information about Anvil is available on Purdue’s Anvil website. Anyone with questions should contact Anvil is funded under NSF award No. 2005632.

Writer: Adrienne Miller, science and technology writer, Research Computing,

Last updated: May 5, 2022