| Today we proudly announce that the LOFAR phase II cluster is operational. Over the next couple of days we will show the first observations stored and reduced on new hardware recently installed in Groningen. We've added some 100 hybrid compute and storage nodes, containing 2448 cores, 6.4 terabyte of main memory and just over 2 petabyte of disk storage to our already impressive list of hardware. The entire cluster is in theory capable of performing just over 20.5x1012 floating point operations very second, four times that of the previous cluster.
This new cluster is designed to handle far greater bandwidths than the previous cluster. With this hardware we should (eventually) be able to handle up to 80 Gbps of data streaming from the Blue Gene/P supercomputer, allowing us to observe with more beams, at higher time resolution and with more frequency bands than previously possible. According to one enthusiastic pilot user we can now do with one node what until now required the entire cluster.
The picture above shows the evolution of the cluster, from empty racks to a full-fledged (and rather noisy) cluster of 100+ nodes. What can't be shown in pictures is the tremendous amount of work that was done, by personnel from both the University of Groningen and ASTRON, to get the operating system and software working in record time.