Clustered for Information: Symposium introduces Armenian super computer

During a five-day gathering of Information Technology (IT) programmers and scientists this week in Yerevan, specialists from 12 countries exchanged ideas about developments in their field and heard some 135 reports, 40 of which came from the symposium hosts.

Like the recently-completed conference on genetics that drew similar international participation, the symposium at the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia provided a fertile environment for debate and discussion of IT issues, and especially their relevance in Armenia’s burgeoning scientific field.

Apart from reports on traditionally developing applied studies, one day of the symposium specifically dealt with the creation of a high-performance computer, ArmCluster, recently implemented in Armenia.

It was announced during the meeting that Armenia is now home to a powerful supercomputer center, which beginning from 2006 will constitute a core for the republic’s specialists working in the field of sciences and education for the purpose of establishing a common computing infrastructure.

“The ArmCluster system will be a unique machine supplied with huge computing resources that will make it possible to make intricate calculations in different scientific spheres of Armenia,” says researcher of the Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems of NAS of Armenia, Hrachya Astsatryan.

“Such complicated problems are impossible to solve by means of separate computers, which was the reason for Armenian scientists so far to search for solutions to their scientific problems abroad. Now there is no need for that,” the scientist says.

The high-performance computing ArmCluster system will allow 128 processors to work on one task at the same time, calculating larger amounts of data.

At present, ArmCluster is the largest supercomputer in the Caucasus region, and the fifth most powerful among such clusters existing in CIS countries. The first place is occupied by the Russian-Belarus computing system, and the next three places are occupied by the Russians.

The system was implemented at the Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems, based on a project of the International Scientific Technology Center (ISTC). Seven Armenian institutes, as well as the Tbilisi State University (Georgia) participated in the realization of the project.

The cost of the 2.5-year grant project is $270,000, which was funded by the ISTC. According to the project executives, it was considered as one of ISTC's most successful projects.

“Thus, the field for researches has been extended for Armenian scientists. It will enable them to compute more complicated and new types of problems with the aid of the computer,” says project director Vladimir Sahakyan, of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems.

According to him, a skilful programmer will be able to solve more complicated problems with this computer system. “And we have good programmers and have always been proud of their high level, and it is the field where they ought to display their level. And the possibilities of the ArmCluster are so great that it can be employed to solve several problems at a time,” says Sahakyan.

Services of the high computing system are also available online, with registration on the official website in advance.

According to Sahakyan, certain scientists in Armenia have already defended their theses on the bases of the ArmCluster.

“Scientists make big databases for their spheres in high-performance computing, and research hypothesis in such a server environment, which are worked up only in such big systems,” says Sahakyan
According to Sahakyan, the stated program of Armenia is to create a network of computers with compatible software packages that connect all research scientists.

The State Engineering University of Armenia and the Yerevan State University are the first in the queue to join the central cluster.