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Texas Advanced Computing Center to Build Supercomputer with Federal Grant

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin will build and support a world-class supercomputer with comprehensive computing and visualization capabilities as part of a National Science Foundation grant.

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The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin will build and support a world-class supercomputer with comprehensive computing and visualization capabilities as part of a National Science Foundation grant.

The new system, called Stampede, will support the nation’s scientists in addressing the most challenging scientific and engineering problems over the next four years, such as weather forecasting, climate modeling, energy exploration and production, drug discovery, developing new materials and building more efficient and safer automobiles and airplanes.

It will be built by TACC in partnership with Dell and Intel and will be the most powerful system in the NSF’s eXtreme Digital (XD) program, which enables scientists to interactively share computing resources, data and expertise.

NSF is providing $27.5 million for Stampede immediately and is expected to invest $50 million over the next four years. The supercomputer will be up and running in January 2013 at the TACC facilities on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus in Austin, where the NSF-funded Ranger supercomputer is currently housed. The project may be renewed in 2017, which would enable four additional years of open science research on Stampede.

“Stampede will be one of the most powerful systems in the world and will be uniquely comprehensive in its technological capabilities,” said TACC Director Jay Boisseau. “Many researchers will leverage Stampede not only as part of their breakthrough scientific research, but for all of their scientific research, including visualization, data analysis and data-intensive computing. We expect the Stampede system to be an exemplar for supporting both simulation-based science and data-driven science.”

Watch a short video of TACC Director Jay Boisseau discussing Stampede.

“We at NSF are gratified to fund such a powerful combination of system and services for open science research,” said NSF Program Manager Irene Qualters. “The technological capacity is important; but even more important is that the scientific community — those on the front lines of cutting-edge research on a number of multidisciplinary areas critical to addressing society’s greatest challenges — have open access in order to push the frontiers of science and engineering.”

Computational science has become the third pillar of scientific discovery, complementing theory and physical experimentation, allowing scientists to explore phenomena that are too big, small, fast or dangerous to investigate in the laboratory.

“My group, in particular, is excited about the opportunities Stampede offers to greatly accelerate our work in quantifying uncertainties in computer models of dynamics of polar ice sheets, global seismic wave propagation and whole-earth plate tectonics,” said Omar Ghattas, professor of geological sciences and mechanical engineering and director of the Center for Computational Geosciences in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We’re thrilled about partnering with The University of Texas and TACC to build Stampede, an unprecedented HPC system more powerful than the current top three HPC systems in the world combined,” said John Mullen, vice president and general manager of Major Public Accounts, Education, State and Local Government at Dell.

“Intel is proud to be a core part of enabling the next generation of scientific discovery for NSF XD users,” said Anthony Neal-Graves, vice president and general manager of Workstations and MIC Computing at Intel. “Our goal is to provide consistency with the next generation of Intel processors, co-processors and software so that our nation’s best scientists can focus on scientific discovery and not computer science.”

Recognizing the promise of advanced computing, The University of Texas at Austin has pledged additional support for the project, including a new data center to house Stampede.

“This grant solidifies The University of Texas at Austin’s role as one of the world’s supercomputing hubs,” said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. “Scientists from around the country will be able to use our supercomputer to tackle some of society’s greatest challenges. It will promote collaboration and problem solving at UT and beyond. Congratulations to Jay Boisseau and his entire team at TACC.”

Stampede will support more than 1,000 projects in computational and data-driven science and engineering from across the U.S.

Stampede and the other NSF-sponsored computational resources are made freely available to researchers across the country through a peer review system. Unlike telescopes or particle accelerators, systems like Stampede help researchers across all disciplines, including the humanities, and are critical to the expansion of knowledge and innovation.

Stampede will be operated and supported for four years by TACC, Dell and a team of cyberinfrastructure experts at The University of Texas at Austin, Clemson University, University of Colorado at Boulder, Cornell University, Indiana University, Ohio State University and The University of Texas at El Paso.

Watch a video about Stampede on YouTube or download a full HD version.