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Report: Computing Infrastructure Resources at Academic Institutions Up Substantially

Bandwidth availability and high performance computing is on the rise nationally on college campuses, according to data from the National Science Foundation's latest Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities.

Findings in the report show that in fiscal year 2011, 59 percent of academic institutions reported bandwidth of at least 1 Gbps, compared with 21 percent of such institutions in 2005.

The percentage of academic institutions with network connections of 10 Gbps or greater increased from 2 percent to 25 percent during the same period.

The findings indicate a disparity between doctorate and non-doctorate granting institutions regarding bandwidth, as the percentage of doctorate-granting institutions with bandwidth of at least 2.5 Gbps (43 percent) was more than 10 times greater than that of non-doctorate-granting institutions (4 percent).

The pattern was expected to continue in 2012, when 53 percent of doctorate-granting institutions estimated that they would have bandwidth of 2.5 Gbps or greater, compared with 5 percent of non-doctorate-granting institutions.

The report also looked at high performance computing, noting that "many academic research institutions manage their high-performance computing (HPC) resources through a distinct organizational unit within the institution that has a separate staff and budget," in the published findings. A total of 192 of the 539 surveyed academic institutions reported ownership of centrally administered HPC resources of 1 teraflop or faster in 2011.

Again an increase is apparent in the findings, as the median total performance reported for centrally administered systems was 14 teraflops in 2011, compared with 8 teraflops in 2009 and 4 teraflops in 2007.

The doctoral dividing line was also in effect regarding HPC, as 47 percent of doctorate-granting institutions provided HPC resources for their campuses compared with less than 9 percent of non-doctorate-granting institutions.

About the Author

Kevin Hudson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at [email protected].

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