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IMPACT Cluster

A joint venture between the Science & MCT faculties

The I.M.P.A.C.T. cluster, formerly the Neptune cluster, started life in 2001 in the Physics & Astronomy Department (Science Faculty) as a replacement for the aging Alpha based research computer system, with 11 dual processor computers. This quickly grew when the Technology Faculty added a further 10 machines.

The then the Maths & Computing Faculty, who also had an aging Alpha and Solaris based system, built a test cluster with a bunch of desktop boxes. This was so successful that a bigger cluster was then built with 22 blade units. Growth of the WASP and Super WASP projects in Physics & Astronomy called for more nodes and a lot more storage. While in M&C the spare space in the new blade chassis meant when Technology needed to expand again, this time it added 22 more blades to their system.

In 2004 / 2005 it was decided to join the two clusters together and form an Integration of Maths, Physics, Astronomy, Computing and Technology computing facilities: The IMPACT Cluster. Since then the Earth & Environmental Sciences Dept.has also become a key player but the name has stuck.

2008 saw another big change, M&C merged with Technology to become MCT. A new building to replace the old Jenny Lee Library was allocated to Computing and IET, with a purpose-built server room.
The first external review of the cluster was completed in 2008 and as a part of the recommendations the move of all the equipment into the JLB server room was started. IMPACT now servers the Science and MCT faculties and from October of 2008 its new home is the Jenny Lee building, JLB2. The move of equipment from the old M&C server room to the JLB2 is completed including rehousing of the old P&A nodes. Further funding was sought from the MCT and Science faculties to extend storage and replace old nodes and a bid was placed with the Open University research office in 2009.