From insideHPC: “Nor-Tech Powers LIGO and IceCube Nobel-Physics Prize-Winning Projects”

From insideHPC

March 28, 2019

Today HPC integrator Nor-Tech announced participation in two recent Nobel Physics Prize-Winning projects. The company’s HPC gear will help power the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project as well as the IceCube neutrino detection experiment.


VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger

Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide

ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

Localizations of gravitational-wave signals detected by LIGO in 2015 (GW150914, LVT151012, GW151226, GW170104), more recently, by the LIGO-Virgo network (GW170814, GW170817). After Virgo came online in August 2018


Skymap showing how adding Virgo to LIGO helps in reducing the size of the source-likely region in the sky. (Credit: Giuseppe Greco (Virgo Urbino group)

U Wisconsin IceCube neutrino observatory

U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole

U Wisconsin IceCube experiment at the South Pole



U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole


IceCube Gen-2 DeepCore PINGU


IceCube reveals interesting high-energy neutrino events

“We are excited about the amazing discoveries these enhanced detectors will reveal,” said Nor-Tech Executive Vice President Jeff Olson. “This is an energizing time for all of us at Nor-Tech—knowing that the HPC solutions we are developing for two Nobel projects truly are changing our view of the world.”

LIGO just announced that their detectors are about to come online after a one-year shutdown for hardware upgrades. In preparation for this, LIGO Consortium member University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee upgraded their clusters with Nor-Tech hardware to assist with the computing demands. At UWM they design, build and maintain computational tools, such as Nor-Tech’s supercomputer, that handle LIGO’s massive amounts of data. Nor-Tech completed the most recent update-including Intel Skylake processors-in 2018. The new Skylake-equipped technology is proving to be almost 10 times faster.

LIGO was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2017. Prior to this, at a Feb. 11, 2016 national media conference, National Science Foundation (NSF) researchers announced the first direct observation of a gravitational wave. This was a paradigm-shifting achievement in the science community. Subsequent gravitational wave detections have confirmed those results.

In 2018, the LIGO team announced the first visible detection of a neutrino event. This was made possible, in part, by the powerful HPC technology Nor-Tech has been providing to multiple LIGO Consortium institutions since 2005.

The first Nor-Tech client to win a Nobel Prize in Physics was the IceCube research team, headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. IceCube is designed specifically to identify neutrinos from space. It’s a cubic kilometer of ice, laced with photo-detectors, located at a dedicated Antarctic research facility.

Nor-Tech has been working with several of the world’s leading research institutions involved with the IceCube project for more than 10 years; designing, building, and upgrading HPC technology that made exciting neutrino discoveries possible.

See the full article here .

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