New Supercomputer for IU

Indiana University will acquire what university spokespeople think will be the fastest university-owned supercomputer in the US (or 3rd in the world for universities), capable of performing more than 20.4 trillion numerical operations per second. Michael A. McRobbie, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at IU Bloomington says, “These systems will provide IU’s scientists and researchers with the best cyber infrastructure at any university in the US if not worldwide.”

Michael McRobbie

IU’s Michael McRobbie
Courtesy Indiana University

The 20.4TF (teraFLOPS) supercomputer based on IBM’s JS21 technology will easily place Indiana’s new arrival in the TOP500 list, probably in the 20 th position of elite supercomputers worldwide. They’ll pair that with more than 1 petabyte of high-speed disk storage, and an additional petabyte of tape. New Force10 4x10GigE switching will connect their Bloomington and Indy machine rooms.

The acquisitions are key to research funding strategies as well as to IT strategic plans at IU. McRobbie explains, “This new computer and other cyber infrastructure expansions are essential to IU’s success in obtaining large grants from many programs in the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Endowment for the Humanities, and other funding sources.”

Major funding comes from the Indiana Metabolomics and Cytomics Initiative, or METACyt, which is funded by a $53 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, and from the National Science Foundation. While the investments represent a big first step in IU’s new Life Sciences Strategic Plan, there’s a lot of supercomputing power to be spread among numerous disciplines, leveraging a services model for advanced research computing. A few of the broad discipline areas to be served include astronomy, informatics, computational physics, and the humanities. The system will also connect to global research networks.

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