Date Posted: 8/05/2002

Cornell Theory Center (CTC) Receives $60 Million In Resources Over Four Years to Deliver Compelling Performance for Compute-Intensive Commercial Applications

Aug. 5, 2002 - Cornell Theory Center (CTC) today announced an agreement with Dell, Intel, and Microsoft to develop and deliver CTC High-Performance Solutions, a suite of industry standards-based high-performance computing (HPC) solutions and services for business, government and academic clients. The agreement provides $60 million worth of resources over the next four years to aid in solutions development.

CTC High-Performance Solutions will be based on Dell PowerEdge servers; Intel Xeon and Itanium family processors and tools; and running Microsoft Server software. This combination is designed to provide customers with the performance and availability once only achieved by proprietary supercomputers at a fraction of the price. CTC will double the size of its existing 425-server Dell, Intel and Windows-based HPC clusters as a result of this agreement. With the standards-based technologies in CTC's clusters, it can provide users with documented high performance, reliability and security while functioning at significantly reduced total cost of ownership when compared to the proprietary supercomputer CTC previously used.

HPC clustering has been successfully used in university and research environments for years to solve complex problems, but also has many practical applications for business such as scalable online transaction processing with Web clients, decision support systems, engineering design and analysis, bioinformatics and more. CTC High-Performance Solutions will apply its Windows HPC expertise to accelerate the deployment and scale out of Windows-based IT infrastructure in the private sector.

CTC High-Performance Solutions will develop robust Windows HPC solution stacks for broad industry deployment, and will include HPC services such as UNIX to Windows code porting, optimization, and porting to parallel environments; systems planning and integration; systems and applications training and testing; benchmarking. CTC will also offer high-performance Web services based on Microsoft's .NET software and SQL Server. CTC's TechExchange Consortium will provide members with more immediate access to IT technologies and will help drive the evolution of Windows HPC.

In addition, CTC will establish a technology showcase for proof-of-concept applications for HPCC in the financial district of New York City. This facility will be linked to related activities in CTC's Ithaca, N.Y., laboratories and will serve as the setting for customers to pilot projects.

"Establishment of CTC High-Performance Solutions comes at a time when all sectors of the economy face increasing competition, pressure on margins, and the need to demonstrate strong and quick returns on investment," said Thomas F. Coleman, CTC director and Cornell computer scientist. "With our expanded relationships and combined strengths, we can show companies, government agencies, and academic institutions how to expand their technical computing environment, while reducing their overall IT budget. They can take their existing expensive, proprietary systems, which are often islands of performance requiring extra systems staff, and replace them with a more flexible, scale-out clustered environment that is expandable and that fits in the overall Windows-based office environment."

"Cornell Theory Center is playing an important leadership role in Windows Server-based high-performance computing," said Brian Valentine, Microsoft Senior Vice President, Windows Division. "They were first to move completely to Windows for HPC. They have shown that it works in the most demanding settings. And they will be instrumental in moving HPC out of the research environment and into the mainstream industry. As we work together with CTC, Dell, and Intel, the efforts coming out of this agreement will very clearly show Windows brings the highest value to high-performance computing applications and companies' business systems on an industry standards-based IT platform."

"The flexibility, performance and cost-effectiveness of Dell PowerEdge servers with Intel technology is becoming more and more attractive to customers in research-intensive industries outside of the university, due in part to initiatives like CTC's Windows program," said Russ Holt, vice president of Dell's Enterprise Systems Group. "Through Dell's own HPCC program, we continue to see customers replacing legacy, proprietary systems with Intel-based HPC clusters."

"Intel continues to invest in HPC to propel the industry forward and drive innovation using Intel's volume economics model - delivering absolute performance, price/performance, flexibility and choice to enable supercomputing for the masses," said Mike Fister, senior vice president and general manager, Intel Enterprise Platforms Group. "Using the industry-leading floating point performance of the Intel Itanium 2 processor and the world-class price/performance of the Intel Xeon processor, CTC High-Performance Solutions will help accelerate the migration of leading-edge computational research into the corporate data center of the future."

"This tremendous investment by Dell, Intel and Microsoft in the Cornell Theory Center is a true vote of confidence in the intellectual power of one of our State's finest academic institutions," said Governor Pataki. "Industry, university and government collaboration is critical to economic success in our State and throughout the nation, especially in the fast-paced world of information technology. This project is a prime example of how expertise at New York State's top-flight universities can help industry solve complex problems that will benefit all sectors, public and private."

For more information about CTC High-Performance Solutions, visit

About the Cornell Theory Center
CTC is a high-performance computing and interdisciplinary research center located on the Ithaca campus of Cornell University. CTC currently operates a Dell/Intel/Windows cluster complex consisting of more than 900 processors. Scientific and engineering projects supported by CTC represent a vast variety of disciplines, including bioinformatics, behavioral and social sciences, computer science, engineering, geosciences, mathematics, physical sciences, and business.

About CTC Systems
CTC's Systems are configured into general purpose, strategic application, and dedicated clusters. Among the dedicated research clusters housed at CTC are a 64-node system devoted to computational materials, 64 nodes for computational biology solutions, 32 nodes to support the USDA-ARS Center for Agricultural Bioinformatics, and 32 nodes dedicated to social and economic research. CTC also provides a novel Windows/Dell/Intel 3D, stereo immersive CAVE environment for scientific visualization.

Note: Intel, Itanium and Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Dell and PowerEdge are trademarks or registered trademarks of Dell Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Microsoft, Windows, SQL Server, and .NET are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

CTC: Margaret Corbit, 607-254-8716,
Microsoft: Gary Grossman, Waggner Edstrom 503-443-7000
Intel: Barbara Grimes, 503-712-6024,
Dell: Wendy Giever, 512-728-6442,