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University of Michigan partners with Cavium on big data computing platform

Cavium, a provider of semiconductor for enterprise, data centre, wired and wireless networking and the University of Michigan have announced a new partnership that aims to position U-M as a leader in data-intensive scientific research by creating a powerful Big Data computing cluster using dual socket servers powered by Cavium’s ThunderX ARMv8-A workload optimised processors.

The ThunderX product family is Cavium’s 64-bit ARMv8-A server processor for next generation Data Center and Cloud applications, and features high performance custom cores, single and dual socket configurations, high memory bandwidth and large memory capacity.

The product family also includes integrated hardware accelerators, integrated feature-rich high bandwidth network and storage IO, fully virtualised core and IO, and scalable high bandwidth, low latency Ethernet fabric, which affords ThunderX best-in-class performance per dollar and watt. They are fully compliant with ARMv8-A architecture specifications as well as ARM’s SBSA and SBBR standards, and widely supported by industry leading OS, Hypervisor and Software tool and application vendors.

The $3.5 million ThunderX computing cluster will enable U-M researchers to, for example, process massive amounts of data generated by remote sensors in distributed manufacturing environments, or by test fleets of automated and connected vehicles.

U-M and Cavium chose to run the cluster on Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP®) which is based on open source Apache Hadoop.  The ThunderX cluster will deliver high performance compute services for the Hadoop analytics and ultimately a total of 3 petabytes of storage space.

‘U-M scientists are conducting groundbreaking research in Big Data already, in areas like connected and automated transportation, learning analytics, precision medicine and social science,’ said Eric Michielssen, Associate Vice President for Advanced Research Computing (ARC). ‘This partnership with Cavium will accelerate the pace of data-driven research and opening up new avenues of inquiry.’

‘I know from experience that U-M researchers are capable of amazing discoveries,’ said Syed Ali, MSEE ‘81, founder and CEO of Cavium.  ‘Cavium is honoured to help break new ground in Big Data research at one of the top universities in the world.’

‘Hortonworks is excited to be a part of forward leading research at University of Michigan exploring low-powered, high performance computing,’ said Nadeem Asghar, Vice President and Global Head Technical Alliances at Hortonworks.  ‘We see this as a great opportunity to further expand the platform and segment enablement for Hortonworks and the ARM community.’

Alec Gallimore, Dean of the U-M College of Engineering, said the Cavium partnership is a milestone in the development of the college and the university.  ‘It is clear that the ability to rapidly gain insights into vast amounts of data is key to the next wave of engineering and science breakthroughs,’ he said. ‘Without a doubt, the Cavium platform will allow our faculty and researchers to harness the power of Big Data, both in the classroom and in their research.’


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