Wednesday, April 6, 2016

UNO Wins $100,000 High-Performance Computing Cluster

clusterThe University of New Orleans is one of two universities to win the 5th annual Research Cluster Grant from Silicon Mechanics, a leading provider of servers, storage and high-performance computing solutions to the world's most innovative organizations. UNO and the University of California, Merced will each receive a high-performance computing cluster with the latest high-performance processing technologies, valued at more than $100,000, to be used in future research projects.

At UNO, the high-performance computing cluster will help build on the strengths of the medicinal chemistry, cybersecurity, advanced materials design, information assurance and computational biology programs featured at the University. The equipment will improve research in big data analytical methods for cybersecurity and digital forensic purposes as well as the development of tools for computational chemistry, cybersecurity and bioinformatics.

"The cluster will be a boon to our research," said Dhruva Chakravorty, assistant professor of chemistry at UNO and the lead investigator on the grant proposal. "We will be able to process data at rates that previously would not have been possible. It will also enable us to analyze data up to 20 times faster. We expect this cluster to help us remain competitive for federal and state grants in the years to come."

Since 2012, when Silicon Mechanics initiated the Research Cluster Grant (RCG), the program has extended its reach considerably, providing more than $500,000 worth of much needed technology advancements to universities and institutions where access to important research funding to acquire high-performance computing technology has become more difficult in recent years.

"Being part of a program which provides cluster technology to help positively impact research efforts is why we started this five years ago. Providing a solution to these universities where access to high-performance computing was either limited, outdated or was not previously available is ultimately what the RCG is all about," said Art Mann, Silicon Mechanics' senior director, Life Sciences Practice. "Knowing we are helping to advance collaboration between university departments and researchers, and being able to look down the road at advancements and findings these institutions are targeting is very exciting."

“We are happy to continue to support this program and provide the universities with leading EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand interconnect technology," said Scot Schultz, director of HPC and technical computing at Mellanox Technologies. “The Research Cluster Grant supports HPC education with technologies that are state-of-the-art, and also provides a springboard for enhancing skills that are in high demand in the industry.”   

Previous RCG awardees include both Dordt College and City College of New York (CCNY) in 2015, Wayne State University in 2014, Tufts University in 2013 and Saint Louis University in 2012. Silicon Mechanics’ partners that have donated product to this year’s grant include Intel, NVIDIA, Mellanox, Supermicro, Micron, Broadcom Limited, Seagate, Western Digital, HGST and Bright Computing.