Georgia Tech Wins NSF Track for Next-Gen Supercomputer

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The Georgia Institute of Technology, today, announced that the National Science Foundation awarded it a five-year, $12 million Track 2 grant for the deployment of an experimental high performance computing system.  The award will support the procurement and management of two heterogeneous HPC systems geared toward research projects tackling computational biology, combustion, materials science, and massive visual analytics.  Georgia Tech’s College of Computing is the lead in a group that includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory [ORNL], University of Tennessee, National Institute for Computational Sciences, HP and NVIDIA.

Our goal is to develop and deploy a novel, next-generation system for the computational science community that demonstrates unprecedented performance on computational science and data-intensive applications, while also addressing the new challenges of energy-efficiency,” said Jeffrey Vetter, joint professor of computational science and engineering at Georgia Tech and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.”The user community is very excited about this strategy,” Vetter continued. For example, James Phillips, senior research programmer at the University of Illinois who leads development of the widely-used NAMD application, says “Our experiences with graphics processors over the past two years have been very positive and we can’t wait to explore the new Fermi architecture; this new NSF resource will provide an ideal platform for our large biomolecular simulations.”

Georgia Tech’s Vetter will lead the project as principal investigator.  However, the team also includes several other HPC luminaries.  The co-principal investigators include Prof. Jack Dongarra, Prof. Karsten Schwan, Prof. Richard Fujimoto and Prof. Thomas Schulthess.

Computational science is a key area driving the worldwide application of GPUs for high-performance computing,” said Bill Dally, chief scientist at NVIDIA. “GPUs working in concert with CPUs is the architecture of choice for future demanding applications.”

The platforms will be developed and deployed in two phases.  The initial system delivery is planned for early 2010.  As the industry partners, HP and NVIDIA will be providing the computational gear behind the award.  No word on the specifics of either machine.

For more info, read the full release here or check out the project website here.


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