Sun Microsystems empowers High Performance Computing in Quebec and beyond

CLUMEQ's world class, energy-efficient datacentre furthers important scientific research

TORONTO, Nov. 18 /CNW/ - Sun Microsystems of Canada Inc. announced today that the Consortium Laval, Université du Québec, McGill and Eastern Quebec (CLUMEQ), part of a nationwide network of High Performance Computing (HPC) installations collectively known as Compute Canada, is now open for business. The world class, energy-efficient datacentre housing the Sun Constellation System was deployed by Sun as a powerful instrument for scientific research, leveraging a brand new data centre that is an architectural work of art. CLUMEQ also has the distinction of being one of the greenest HPC centres in the world.

As one of the largest high-throughput interconnect supercomputers in Canada, its 77 TeraFlops compute power will allow CLUMEQ and other Compute Canada researchers to perform significantly more complex models in search of answers to questions in a wide range of fields, including climate and ecosystems modeling, high energy physics, cosmology, data mining and intelligent systems. Sun technology was selected for its highest performance using a well-balanced, robust, and market-driving architecture. CLUMEQ's Sun Constellation System, containing 7,680 cores, is one of Canada's fastest supercomputers. It is the first circular clustered supercomputer in the world, built fully cylindrical and symmetrical to improve energy efficiency and maximize air flow distribution.

"High Performance Computing is all about performance and balance - fast CPUs, fast memory access, fast interconnects, and fast storage access," said Marc Parizeau, Deputy Director of CLUMEQ and Professor of Computer Engineering, Université Laval. "The complete, end-to-end, open solution engineered by Sun makes no compromises in performance while maintaining the all-important balance with the constraints of budget. We are very excited with the possibilities offered by this new resource for the research communities in Quebec and the rest of Canada."

Sun began working with CLUMEQ in early 2006 when the Canadian government announced the availability of funds for a national supercomputing platform. Building on its supercomputing thought leadership, Sun recommended CLUMEQ leverage the Sun Blade 6048 system with the Intel(R) Xeon(R) processor 5500 series. CLUMEQ awarded the $6.2-million project to Sun based on technical merit and having high confidence in Sun's expertise to deliver.

Sun has a long history of working with universities throughout the world to drive innovation. In Canada, Sun Microsystems of Canada provides the High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory (HPCVL) in Kingston, Ont., with three HPCVL-Sun Microsystems of Canada Chairs in Computational Science and Engineering. Sun Canada also established 31 fellowship awards at the Atlantic Computational Excellence Network (ACEnet) to drive and foster HPC research, innovation and progress throughout Atlantic Canada.

"Sun is a longstanding supporter of innovation in Canada's academic centres, and we understand the importance of joint partnerships between academic institutions and private sector companies," said Mario Massicotte, Regional Vice President, Eastern Canada, Sun Microsystems of Canada Inc. "As a leader in High Performance Computing, we are honoured to be working with CLUMEQ on such a world-class supercomputing datacentre that has innovation, creativity and energy efficiency at its core. Researchers will now be able to conduct faster and more accurate simulations and computing, opening the doors to extraordinary possibilities."

CLUMEQ runs two physical sites: one in Montreal at McGill University and the other in Quebec City on the Université Laval campus. The new Sun Constellation System installed at Université Laval is housed in the silo of a former Van de Graaff particle accelerator that has been renovated as an innovative, energy-efficient cooling facility leveraging a unique three-level cylindrical floor plan with up to 1.5 Megawatts of cooling capacity and space to host up to 56 high density computer racks.

Sun technology includes 10 fully loaded Sun Blade 6048 modular systems with a combined total of 480 Sun Blade X6275 server modules and 7,680 processing cores. A Sun Lustre Storage System, based on the high performance Sun Storage J4400 array with 1 PB of storage capacity, as well as a full-featured HPC software stack are also deployed. The Sun Constellation System incorporates superior design for customers with high-end computing requirements. All of the components are designed to work together, improving performance and reducing risk. The system delivers extremely high density blade computing. The open, modular architecture will allow CLUMEQ to grow easily as its needs evolve.

The datacentre is a model in energy efficiency, with free air cooling and exceptional air flow distribution. In the winter, heat generated from the system is recycled to heat a neighbouring campus building.

Sun Professional Services worked collaboratively with CLUMEQ on all aspects of the implementation, from installation of the datacentre's walls, power distribution, cabling, and server racks to deployment of the software stack and performance testing.


The Consortium Laval, Université du Québec, McGill and Eastern Quebec (CLUMEQ) is part of Compute Canada, a nationwide network of High Performance Computing installations encompassing seven regional consortia across Canada. CLUMEQ conducts research in a variety of scientific disciplines including nanotechnology, cosmology, high-energy physics, genomics and proteomics, and climate forecasting. CLUMEQ is based in Quebec City, with supercomputing platforms situated in Montreal and Quebec City. For more information, visit

About Sun Microsystems Inc.

Sun Microsystems develops the technologies that power the global marketplace. Guided by a singular vision - "The Network Is The Computer"(TM) - Sun drives network participation through shared innovation, community development and open source leadership. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the Web at

Sun Microsystems of Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Sun Microsystems, Inc., is headquartered in Markham, Ontario. The company, which employs more than 640 persons, has offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and Victoria. Sun products and services are also available through Sun Authorized Independent Marketing Organizations and Sun(SM) Partner Advantage Program partners across Canada. For more information, visit

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Java and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

Intel and Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.


For further information: For further information: Tamara Kaftalovich, MAVERICK Public Relations for Sun Microsystems of Canada, (416) 640-5525, ext. 234,

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