High Performance Computing & E-science
GRApe + mpraCE (GRACE)
GRACE is a cooperation project, supported by the Volkswagen-Stiftung, with the Technischen Informatik, Lehrstuhl V of the university of Mannheim and the working group Computational Astrophysics at the Universitätssternwarte München. The hybrid-structure of this new type of super-computer combines three elements: a normal 64 prozessor Beowulf PC cluster, special developed computer hardware with fixed-wired gravitational force computation (GRAPE), developed in a project of Japanese astrophysicists at the Univ. of Tokyo, and flexible reprogrammable chips (FPGA, field programmable gate array). A peak performance of 4 Tflop/s computational speed is actually realized for the numerical modelling of dense stellar systems (young star clusters, galactic nuclei with binary Black Holes) and the simulation of turbulence and star formation in galaxies and the interstellar medium. In order to reach this performance for our applications with a usual High Performance Computer a ten times larger peak performance would be necessary, realized today only by the three fastest computers in the Top 500 list.
GAVO is the German contribution to the Virtual Observatory and member of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). IVOA's mission is the development of standards and software to facilitate structured and worldwide access to astronomical resources like data, archives, services, programs, etc. Within IVOA, GAVO's activities focus on simulations and theory as well as catalogue archives. Examples include providing interactive and intuitive access to results of n-body simulations or spectra of hot stars and the publication of astrometric or photometric catalogues. GAVO is funded by the German federal research administration (BMBF); further participants are Universität Tübingen, Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (MPE) in Garching and Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (AIP).