General University News
Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Lab Acquire Powerful New Supercomputer
STONY BROOK, N.Y., October 17, 2006—Plans for a new Supercomputer, acquired by Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory to anchor a world-class center for computational science, will be announced on Wednesday, October 18 at 1:00 PM in Building 438, in the auditorium of the Office of Educational Programs, at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Supported with $26 million in state funding obtained through the efforts of Assemblyman Marc Alessi, it will be the fastest Supercomputer for general users in the world and make Long Island a national leader in the use of computers to attack problems in science, technology, and engineering.
“Together, we’re helping bring Suffolk County to the forefront of our high-tech world. I, along with the rest of Long Island, can’t wait to see this Supercomputer in action,” said Alessi. “It’s been a pleasure working with Stony Brook and BNL and I look forward to continuing our effort to attract the brightest minds and quality jobs to this area.”
“This is a great day for both science and Long Island,” said Assemblyman Steve Englebright. “This powerful computer will enable scientists to expand the frontiers of knowledge while simultaneously ensuring that Long Island's research institutions remain globally competitive.”
The Supercomputer, capable of 100 Teraflops, will be the centerpiece of the New York Center for Computational Science, a cooperative effort between Stony Brook and BNL that will also involve universities throughout the state. It will allow computations that, until now, have been impractical for scientists exploring questions in biology, medicine, materials, nanoscience, renewable energy, finance and other critical research and technology areas. The new Center will be co-managed by the University and BNL.
Detailed discussions are taking place with IBM about how their BlueGene/L supercomputer system may meet the performance specifications needed for the range of applications envisioned for the new center. The machine will serve those in the private sector as well as in universities and research centers throughout New York. Six outstanding new faculty, at a minimum, will be hired at Stony Brook, joining the dozens at Stony Brook and BNL, who are already leaders in large scale computation. Some of the hires will be joint appointments with BNL.
Stony Brook Provost Robert McGrath observed that “for a scientifically pre-eminent university like Stony Brook, leadership in large scale computing is absolutely essential. With this machine as a stimulus, the new center will foster interdisciplinary research collaborations, and the new faculty associated with it will be a very big step in a very important direction.”
Sam Aronson, the BNL Director, added that “fundamentally new directions will be enabled for several ongoing studies at BNL, including quantum chromodynamics, the fundamental theory of elementary particles, astronomy, the hydrodynamics of high energy nuclear physics collisions, nanotechnology, biology, and climate modeling.”
Supercomputing has become an essential element of advanced research over the last five years as the speed of resolving complex calculations continues to gain in importance. These massively powerful machines, like the one acquired by Stony Brook and BNL, provide unparalleled opportunities to advance the understanding of science, allowing scientists to focus on the most important biological and medical questions of the post-genomics era and act as essential tools for highly sophisticated approaches to drug discovery, medical diagnostics, and therapies. New models for HIV drug therapy, new studies of signal transduction through cell membranes, new studies of data correlation to resolve the meaning of brain scans and to guide the search for pharmaceuticals will be among the topics studied.
The Center will address a significant void in the ability to understand and solve complex and challenging scientific problems, especially in the areas of energy and nanotechnology. Design of efficient catalysts for fuel conversion, hydrogen storage to enable the hydrogen economy, photonic cells for renewable energy, and nanodot magnetic elements for high density magnetic storage are all part of the research agenda to be addressed on this machine. Calculations that previously took researchers weeks to complete now can be resolved in hours, thanks to advances in the engineering of a new generation of computers.
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