Leading Provider of High Performance Nanophotonic Design Software Donates FDTD Solutions Engine Licenses to ANU

Published on October 29, 2009 at 3:00 AM

Lumerical Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of high performance nanophotonic design software, today announced a donation of FDTD Solutions Engine licenses to the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) National Facility based at the Australian National University Supercomputer Facility (ANUSF) in Canberra, Australia. Each of the ten donated Engine licenses will enable a current FDTD Solutions academic customer in Australia to run, at no additional cost, a large simulation on one or more of the 1264 CPUs that are part of the ANUSF high-performance computing (HPC) system. The donated licenses will increase the productivity of scientists working on wide-ranging nanophotonics technologies including silicon photonics, nanostructured thin films, photonic crystals, and diffractive optical elements.

"As the research community continues to test new device concepts and search for improved device performance, having access to state-of-the-art computing facilities like those at the ANUSF is of crucial importance," said Michael Newland, Lumerical's CEO. "By offering excellent support for HPC facilities, Lumerical's simulation technology remains at the forefront in terms of being able to leverage the immense computing power available to many researchers around the world. This donation is a symbol of our continued commitment to supporting the research efforts of our customers in Australia and beyond."

Ongoing advances to new multi-core and multiprocessor computers have continued to provide substantial computing power to computational scientists and engineers. However, as processors continue to improve, so too must the network interconnects in HPC systems for fast communication to take place between multiple CPUs. The large bandwidth, low latency Infiniband interconnects installed by ANUSF help ensure the NCI meets its mission to provide Australian researchers with world-class high-end computing services.

"The great thing about clusters like the NCI National Facility is not only that you can achieve great scaling for individual jobs but, when you need to run a thousand jobs, you can get it done in a few days or less," according to Adam Reid, Lumerical's Director of Product Development. "As photonic devices continue to shrink in size, incorporate more complicated geometries, and operate over broad wavelength ranges, the combined capabilities of FDTD Solutions and ANUSF make it possible to quickly innovate in high-impact areas of scientific interest."

With applications in many fields of nanophotonics, the licenses donated to ANUSF's HPC cluster will benefit the larger nanophotonics research community. The efforts of that community span a diverse field of interests, including silicon photonics-based optical interconnects destined for future processor architectures, high efficiency solid-state lighting, integrated optical devices for biomedical applications, and the design of next-generation thin film solar cell technologies.

One group that plans to take advantage of the donated licenses is located at ANU's Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSES), which aims to develop breakthrough technologies in the areas of photovoltaics, solar thermal power and solar energy systems. At the CSES, Dr. Kylie Catchpole and her group are working on plasmonic solar cells, in which tiny metal particles act like antennas to increase the efficiency of the solar cell. "The donation of these licenses will allow us to speed up our development work substantially, as modeling these types of solar cells is very computationally intensive," says Dr. Catchpole.

For information on how to get an account on the NCI National Facility, please consult http://nf.nci.org.au/accounts/. More information about FDTD Solutions can be found by visiting http://www.lumerical.com/fdtd.php.

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