Colorado State University Receives $627,000 in Stimulus Funding for High-performance Computing; New System Debuts Jan. 14

The National Science Foundation has awarded Colorado State University $627,326 in stimulus funds for a centralized high-performance computing system available to all university researchers.

Hundreds of faculty and post-doctoral students and thousands of graduate and undergraduate students will benefit from the computer, which will enable modeling, simulation and analysis at levels previously not feasible with university computers. Receiving the grant were Patrick Burns, vice president for Information Technology, and H.J. Siegel, director of the universitywide Information Science and Technology Center (ISTeC).

Provost Rick Miranda and Bill Farland, vice president for Research, will speak at an event debuting the new system at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, in the university’s Lory Student Center, Room 203. Researchers will learn to access and use the new computer system at the event, which is open to the public. Tours of the university data center and the ISTeC Cray computer also will be available. Refreshments will be served.

The new ISTeC High Performance Computer was built by Cray Inc., a computer company with a history of designing top supercomputers for industry, government and universities. The ISTeC Cray is a XT6m model with 1,248 cores (computing devices), 1.6 terabytes of main memory (about 13 trillion bits) and 32 terabytes of disk storage.

The ISTeC Cray computing system will support much larger and more complex problems in science and engineering, especially for data intensive applications; add greater physical fidelity to existing models; facilitate application of computing to new areas of research and discovery; and support training to attract new researchers to computational science, engineering and mathematics.

A principal focus of the system will be data- and computing-intensive applications in NSF-funded research areas at CSU, such as the design of extreme ultraviolet lasers, weather forecasting, computational physics, climate change, atmospheric modeling, bioinformatics, network traffic analysis, robotics, computational electromagnetics, remote sensing, robust resource allocation and magnetic materials. The system also will be a focal point and catalyst for collaborations among multidisciplinary groups of researchers.

Representatives of the ISTeC Industrial Advisory Council, which includes top companies in the computing industry, have expressed interest in participating in affinity groups for studying use of high-performance computing systems in solving problems of importance to industry.

Colorado State is one of the largest producers of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) graduates in Colorado, and the university will be integrating high performance computing into STEM curricula and K-12 teacher training programs. High-performance computing programming courses will support this activity.

The National Science Foundation proposal was submitted by ISTeC on behalf of Colorado State University in Fort Collins and Colorado State University-Pueblo.