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Education Technology News: NSF Offers Funding for Syracuse University's Supercomputer Project
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Education Featured Article

January 20, 2011

NSF Offers Funding for Syracuse University's Supercomputer Project

By Madhubanti Rudra, TMCnet Contributor


New York’s Syracuse University has received $791,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for its supercomputer project.


The sources at the university revealed that an additional $339,000 is being contributed by SU's College of Arts and Sciences for the project, which is expected to play a vital role in LIGO upgradation project. Funded by the NSF and operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT (News - Alert)), LIGO is a vital member of a global network of gravitational-wave observatories.

“LIGO is now undergoing a major upgrade and SU physicists are playing a leading role in the project. The Advanced LIGO detectors will enable us to see at least a thousand times more of the universe than the original detectors. The supercomputer project will provide vital technologies for analyzing the data,” said Duncan Brown, assistant professor of physics in The College of Arts and Sciences and principal investigator for the supercomputer project, in a statement.

The supercomputer will be a 2,500 CPU-core cluster with 388 terabytes of storage connected via gigabit Ethernet. A smaller supercomputer called SUGAR -- one that was built years ago by Brown -- will be integrated into the new computer. This will add to its storage by 320 CPU cores and 96 terabytes. Brown anticipates the cluster will be completed by summer.

The supercomputer is intended to allow scientists from around the world to explore the universe in ways not currently possible. In a press release, the university said that the computer cluster will be housed in SU's new Green Data Center on South Campus and provide resources for scientists involved with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), located in Hanford, Wash., and Livingston, La.; and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.

The cluster will be one of three, LIGO Scientific Collaborations (LSC) Tier 2 computing centers worldwide dedicated to gravitational-wave astronomy. LIGO Tier 2 centers are also located at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and at the Albert Einstein Institute for Gravitational Physics in Germany. Together with the LIGO Laboratory's Tier 1 center, these computers provide the computational power needed to search for gravitational waves from distant objects in the universe, explained the officials at SU.

Co-principal investigators Tomasz Skwarnicki, professor of physics; and Christopher Sedore, SU's vice president for information technology/CIO, will be joining Brown on the project, the university informed.

Last month, Syracuse University was acknowledged for implementing a Green Data Center to drive an effective and efficient reduction in data center power. The institution’s data center has actually been called one of the world’s greenest computer centers and is the result of collaboration between SU, IBM (News - Alert) and New York State.

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Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf


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