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Rutgers Launches HPC Center, Plans Expansion by End of Year

Rutgers University is teaming with IBM to launch a new high-performance computing (HPC) center in its newly created Rutgers Discovery Information Institute. The move is part of Rutgers' effort to become a world-leading academic supercomputing force and help New Jersey's public and private research organizations compete more effectively and economically in "big data" analytics.

To achieve those goals, Rutgers is purchasing hardware and software from IBM, including a Blue Gene/P supercomputer.

"There is immense potential here because Rutgers and IBM have some of the best minds in high-performance computing," Michael Pazzani, Rutgers' vice president for research and economic development and professor of computer science said in a news release. "The ability to conduct data analysis on a large scale, leveraging the power of 'big data,' has become increasing essential to research and development."

Rutgers and IBM scientists will share their expertise with researchers in fields such as cancer and genetic research, medical imaging and informatics, advanced manufacturing, environmental and climate research, and materials science in both the public and private sector.

Rutgers Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Manish Parashar has been named the university's lead member and will direct the new institute, which, he said, will "enable research at a scale we could not support at Rutgers before and allow students and industry to have access to HPC to a much greater degree."

Besides purchasing hardware and software from IBM, Rutgers will also enter into a three-year maintenance agreement for the equipment which will be housed in the Hill Center for Mathematics on Rutgers' Busch Campus in Piscataway, NJ. The IBM Blue Gene will be the only supercomputer available to commercial users in the state. The two Blue Gene/P racks at Rutgers will be "far more powerful" than any computer on campus today and will be called "Excalibur" to play off the university's Scarlet Knight mascot, the university reported.

While the project is already massive, it's only at its inception. Rutgers is looking to expand to the latest generation Blue Gene/Q system by the end of the year and build an expanded facility on the Busch campus in 2013 to handle the growing needs of the system and center.

"This installation is the first step in creating a large-scale infrastructure at the institute, so it's a huge milestone," he said.

Including Rutgers, the Blue Gene/P system operates in six locations, including four national laboratories and two universities, IBM said in the news release.

About the Author

Jerry Bard is a freelance technology writer. He can be reached at [email protected].

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