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New Cray at University of Virginia to Facilitate Big Data Research

ITS computer engineer Adam Munro oversees the operation of the new computer cluster, which was unveiled Thursday.

ITS computer engineer Adam Munro oversees the operation of the new computer cluster, which was unveiled Thursday.

The University of Virginia has installed a new $2.4 million Cray supercomputer to power data-intensive research. Called Rivanna, the system will be used for astronomy, molecular modeling in pharmacology, atmospheric chemistry simulations, high-energy physics data sorting, genome modeling, ocean currents modeling, a range of engineering problems, data mining, and large-scale text analysis.

The goal for the new acquisition is not only to enhance current research at the University, but also to attract vibrant new faculty who already are doing computationally intensive research.

The capabilities of this high-performance cluster will enable us to do new explorations in science and develop new design solutions for engineering problems,” said Don Brown, director of U.Va.’s Data Science Institute, which provided major support for obtaining the new cluster.

Rivanna combines massive processing capacity with large amounts of memory to enable U.Va. to effectively compete with other research universities that are increasingly focusing on the big data and big computing projects that attract federal research funding. It is part of the University’s Cornerstone Plan, which seeks to enhance faculty recruitment, invest in research infrastructure and facilitate cross-school collaboration.

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