MSU celebrates arrival of new supercomputer

  • Jun 9, 2016
  • Faculty & Staff, Research, Biochemistry, Chemistry

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Michigan State University’s Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research, or iCER, will introduce its newest supercomputing resource at a Cluster Ceremony at 3:30 p.m., June 10.

At the event, iCER will celebrate the launch of three new hybrid clusters in the High Performance Computing Center’s (HPCC) supercomputing system. This addition will elevate the school’s capacity for academic work that can be facilitated by utilizing high-performance computing.

“It’s an exciting time for the computational sciences at MSU,” said iCER Director Kennie Merz. “Our researchers are poised to tackle transformative problems ranging from the discovery of new drugs to understanding the universe we live in.”

The event will be held in the Dean’s Conference Room, Engineering Building Room 3405. MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon will give a short speech at the ceremony, followed by words from Merz. Tours of the HPCC Machine Room, home of the supercomputer, will be given afterward.

The new supercomputer will double the speed with which campus researchers can complete their experiments, and enable iCER to reach out to additional research groups who may benefit from this new resource. Researchers include Bastian Schütrumpf, a research associate of nuclear physics at the Facility of Rare Isotope Beams, who uses the cluster to simulate “nuclear pasta,” a unique phase of nuclear matter formed inside neutron stars; Chris Adami, a professor of microbiology and molecular genetics who builds artificial brains on the cluster to explore the evolution of complex behaviors and intelligence; and Carol Buell in the Department of Agriculture who uses bioinformatics and computational biology analyses to improve our understanding of plant biology.

The new cluster will receive an official name at the ceremony, and also give MSU a special distinction: it will mark the university’s return to the Top500 list, which ranks the world’s top high-performance computing machines.

“With the creation of the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering last year, and with the installation of a Top 500 supercomputer on campus, the computational sciences at MSU have never been stronger,” said Merz, who also holds the Joseph Zichis Endowed Chair in Chemistry and is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the MSU College of Natural Science.

iCER provides a solid cyberinfrastructure that connects researchers from academia and industry with advanced computational systems and tools. It supports multidisciplinary research in all facets of computational sciences, and continually works to enhance MSU’s national and international presence and competitive edge in work that requires advanced computing. 

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