UPPMAX Celebrates 20 Years of High-Performance Computing and Storage Services


This year, UPPMAX celebrates 20 years of providing high-performance compute and storage services to the Swedish research community. During the past two decades, UPPMAX has witnessed a remarkable development in technical platforms, hardware, and the scientific landscape.

Looking back, our earliest users may remember working on systems such as Grendel, Ngorongoro, and Hagrid. Materials science quickly emerged as a dominant field at UPPMAX on SNIC-financed systems with Egyptian names: Ra, Set, Isis, and Os. 

These systems wound down already more than a decade ago, and were replaced by a series of Tintin-inspired system, starting with Kalkyl, and then Tintin itself, a system many found hard to love despite the charming character it was named after. 

Around this time, storage systems exploded in size, and with it the life sciences that liked to use them. Perhaps this is why these were named after animals — many current users still remember seeing Bubo, Lynx, Gulo, and Pica on their command line prompts. Milou, and its much-loved 4TB node Milou-f2, were built as a complement to Tintin.

The first real systems for handling sensitive data came online nearly a decade ago, with Topolino (later recast into Mosler), and about eight years ago, our partnership with NGI took solid form in the shape of the secure production cluster, Irma, and its storage, Lupus, now replaced by Miarka and Vulpes. Bianca and Castor are officially more than seven years now, and thanks to significant hardware investments, still the premier general-purpose systems for research on sensitive data in Sweden.

Rackham and Crex are only slightly younger, and have also received significant augmentation during their lifespan. We also cannot forget our shy Cloud System, Dis, which has quietly and reliably hosted all kinds of workloads for a varied set of users — and students — for just as long as the bigger clusters.

But let’s not forget the people behind the machines. UPPMAX has been led by four dedicated directors, including Sverker Holmgren, Ingela Nyström, Hans Karlsson, and current director Elisabeth Larsson. Their leadership and unique contributions have helped UPPMAX maintain a digital research environment that is unmatched in the industry.

Above all, however, UPPMAX is grateful for its users. The earliest records are hazy and lost in the mists of time and cyberspace, so we cannot trace exactly how our user community has developed over the entire two decades, but we can with confidence say that they have been an absolute joy to work with each and every day. Your accomplishments in whatever field of science you’ve engaged in, be it nuclear waste disposal at Forsmark, mapping genocide in Africa, sequencing the genomes of paleocene mammals in Siberia, or hunting for dark matter in distant galaxies, are what give UPPMAX its meaning and purpose. 

For updates and information on current system status, please see the System Status page.


Last modified: 2023-05-29