Podcast: How the Frontera Supercomputer will power research at UT Austin

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Dr. Greg Fenves, President, the University of Texas at Austin

In this podcast, Dr. Greg Fenves, President, the University of Texas at Austin describes how the new Frontera supercomputer at TACC will drive academic research.

The University of Texas at Austin has claimed a leadership role in supercomputing with the top academic system in the world, Frontera, located at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). The National Science Foundation awarded TACC $60 million for building and operating Frontera, the #5 fastest computer in the world according to the June 2019 Top500 rankings. Frontera’s dedication event on September 3, 2019 was marked by an address from UT Austin President Greg Fenves. TACC podcast host Jorge Salazar interviewed President Fenves shortly afterwards, where he spoke on the impact Frontera will have on the University and the world at large.

UT Austin, and in particular TACC, has had a leadership role in high performance computing, said Fenves. “And it seems like I’m here every year now for a new announcement. I’m immensely proud of what TACC and the entire team here has done. It’s a very competitive field to maintain that leadership, where across the United States – in laboratories, in universities and around the world – we are competing for having the fastest, most powerful computers. What’s driving that is the need for more computing power to solve bigger and tougher problems. I’m very proud to be here today in September of 2019 with the announcement of Frontera as the fastest supercomputer at a university anywhere in the world, as we maintain that leadership position.”

President Fenves also highlights the importance of supercomputers in helping save lives and property from hurricanes and flooding, work undertaken by UT Austin Professor Clint Dawson and his ADCIRC storm surge modeling on the TACC system Stampede2, and continuing with Frontera.

Frontera Supercomputer

UT has been a leader in understanding how climate affects weather, and that affects storms. And if we think about the coast of Texas and the coastal United States, about how damaging these storms can be, being able to do real-time simulations, given the actual weather patterns that are forming, and to look ahead predictively, and to be able to do it faster – before the storm hits – we weren’t able to do that a decade ago because the computations took longer. And now these can be done much faster. Simulations provide a real-time tool for emergency responders, emergency planning, and how communities are going to be able to respond to a major hurricane or storm.

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