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Recently, the FAPHI computer cluster was considerably updated within the framework of the grant project AP08052312 “Numerical study of the mechanism of formation of spiral arms in disk galaxies” from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2020-22. The cluster was expanded with three new SuperMicro 7049GP-TRT high-performance servers. Each server is equipped with two 12-core CPUs Intel Xeon Gold 6226 and 96 gigabytes of DDR4 2933MHz RAM with automatic error correction. With this update, the total number of CPU cores in the FAPHI cluster reached 132, and the total number of hyperthreads is now 252. As a result, the peak CPU performance of the cluster has increased by 6 teraflops, reaching a total of 10 teraflops, and the total amount of distributed memory reached 496 gigabytes.

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The three new SuperMicro 7049GP-TRT servers. The image on the left is the front view, the image on the right is the back view. All servers are equipped with additional exhaust fans to enhance ventilation of GPU cards.

The major purpose of the cluster is to carry out computational studies of astrophysical and cosmological objects such as stellar clusters, galaxies, galaxy clusters and the large-scale structure of the universe. When simulating these objects, the main emphasis is put on the numerical solution of the N-body problem, namely, on the calculation of self-consistent dynamics of a large number of bodies. The updated characteristics of the cluster will make it possible to calculate the motion of 200-400 thousand gravitating bodies in the direct modeling mode and about 100 million bodies in the approximate mode. Within the framework of the AP08052312 project, it is planned to perform a large numerical study of the origin of spiral arms in disk galaxies. Despite decades of research, the process of forming spiral arms in isolated disk galaxies is still not completely understood; the project participants plan to shed additional light on this phenomenon using purchased equipment and an original computer model.

Numerical models of the main objects simulated on the FAPHI cluster: compact star cluster, spiral galaxy and large-scale structure of the Universe.

The principal user of the FAPHI cluster is the Laboratory of cosmology, stellar dynamics and computational astrophysics . The laboratory regularly participates in various competitions for grant and program-targeted funding held by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which allows updating and developing the FAPHI cluster. According to the rules of these grant competitions, all equipment is intended strictly for the projects in which it is purchased. At the same time, as the goals of the projects are achieved and computing resources are freed from the target tasks, participants in other projects, groups and laboratories can also use the cluster. Therefore, all computing equipment is purchased taking into account its subsequent integration into a common cluster and the possibility of joint use. Residual computing time is offered to other scientific organizations on mutually beneficial terms.

It should be noted that part of the cost of purchasing the new equipment within the framework of the AP08052312 project was covered by the institute’s private financial partner, the “Astrotechpribor” company.

Another major update of the AFIF cluster is expected in the near future. Within the framework of the project “Development of a software and computing complex for modeling deep space objects using parallel technologies” , carried out within the framework of the 008 budget program for 2018 -20 years, in particular, it is planned to acquire another SuperMicro 7049GP-TRT computing server, as well as a 10 gigabit switch and four Nvidia 2080 Ti video cards.

At the moment, the cluster has 20 free slots for GPU cards, which, if equipped with GPUs, will increase its GPU performance by an additional 300 teraflops.

The computing cluster is run under the Linux operating system (Ubuntu Server), and mainly uses open source software.