SGI UV2000

SGI UV 2000

What it does.

This is a high performance computer with a difference - it has a whopping 20Tb (that’s 20,000 Gigabytes) of RAM. It handles enormous datasets for computation, and it does so much quicker than it would if it were accessing spinning hard drive storage to chunk the data. At least 10 and 20 times quicker, which is a huge power saving, as well as time.

How we use it.

We run sequence alignments, a lot of them, and often against large datasets like the wheat genome assembly. Typically, we might have four alignment jobs running in parallel on the UV 2000, each requiring up to 5Tb.

If we have a 15Gb wheat assembly and we throw a series of sequences at it to find the best alignment matches, that requires holding a series of permutations, or choices of sequence alignments whilst the best one is comparatively appraised, so that 15Gb of data rapidly stacks up in the memory while the algorithm cycles to completion.

Related reading.