The VKI network of computers consists of three parallel computer clusters, desktop workstations, and peripherical equipment like dedicated file servers, CAD hardware and printers. The VKI local network is connected to Belnet, the high bandwidth Belgian national research network managed by the Federal Office for Science Policy.
Parallel Computer Platforms
A first dedicated High Performance Computing (HPC) platform is available, consisting of a cluster of Linux PC’s with dedicated private network (Gigabit Ethernet) and administration (Rocks cluster software stack). As of September 2008, that Beowulf cluster has a total of 126 processing cores, composed of 3 64-bit compute nodes (Intel Core Duo, Quad core at 2.4GHz, 8Gb RAM), 27 64-bit compute nodes (Intel Core Duo, Dual core at 2.4GHz, 4Gb RAM), 44 64-bit compute nodes (Intel Pentium D at 3.4GHz, 2 to 4Gb RAM), and 16 32-bit compute nodes (Intel Pentium 4 at 3.4GHz, 2Gb RAM). Another 44 processor cluster is available for a specific contract. A new cluster with 48 processors (including three rack-mounted units with four quad-core processors each) has been bought, using a financing from LMS Leuven, to run aeroacoustic simulations.
Workstations and Private PC-'s
The total number of public workstations is 22 (3 HP Alpha stations and 19 fast Linux PC’s). The most performing units are the AMD 2800+ PC’s, the Pentium 4 at 3.4GHz and two dual core AMD-Opteron 64-bit processors (2.4GHz) PC with 8 Gb memory. The private PC-base (assigned to specific users) includes a variety of hardware, from simple Intel Pentium 3 and 4 and AMD Athlon processors, to AMD Opteron dual-core and AMD X2 processors. Memory configuration varies from 2 to 8Gb of RAM. The total number of PC’s located in offices, labs and public rooms is around 150.
VKI researchers have access to dedicated
scientific computing packages (e.g. Matlab, Maple, Mathcad, Tecplot, Flowmaster, SolidWorks, CosmosWorks, C/C++ and Fortan compilers) and to a series of CFD solvers (such as Fluent, CFX, Fine, CFD-ACE+, STAR-CD, OpenFOAM). A number of in-house developed CFD codes are used for dedicated applications in optimization, plasma flows, aeronautics, turbomachinery, multiphase flow, turbulence modelling, large eddy simulation and aeroacoustics, … exploiting the parallel computing capacity. Access to Computer Aided Design (CAD) is available in various services and in public rooms, by means of Autodesk INVENTOR running under a network license for 30 concurrent users.
A fast Ethernet network connects the workstations and PC’s and the parallel computing platform (PC Cluster), at a rate of 100Mb/ up to 1Gb/s. Centralised disk storage with daily backup management is available for a
capacity of over 3.6 Tbytes, including RAID5 redundant disk storage systems. CAD hardware consists of several PC's with 19" or 21” colour monitor, digitising tables and two HP plotters (a B/W and a photo quality colour) for A0 paper format.
The VKI maintains a highly visible internet site, which contains full information about the VKI’s educational programs (including Lecture Series), laboratories, ongoing research and noteworthy events. A SSL/VPN service is installed to provide secure access to VKI network for VKI personnel needing to remotely connect through Internet.