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NYSTAR HPC Allocation Program and the NYS High Performance Computing Consortium

Research Summary

The New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) established a $3 million grant to create a program promoting supercomputer access and providing assistance for NYS researchers and product developers. This grant was awarded to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to create the High Performance Computing Consortium (HPC2) to tie together the computational expertise from around the state and thereby tackle our greatest research and industrial challenges. In addition to RPI, the HPC2 includes the University at Buffalo, Stony Brook University and the New York State Education and Research Network (NYSERNet). The grant award is based on the belief that the creative talents of the State’s leading researchers will be enhanced by the opportunity to work with some of the best computational tools in the world.

This multifaceted program ties the use of high-performance computing (HPC) with programming assistance to help non-computational researchers make the most of New York’s world-class computational assets. Michael P. Ridley, the Director of the NYS HPC Program, states that “By building a program to improve the literacy of HPC among our researchers and provide easy-to-use tools that allow researchers in every domain to use our supercomputers, we anticipate this program will have a dramatic impact on research and innovation in New York. By empowering our researchers with our world-class cyber-infrastructure, New York will give our research institutions and industries a competitive advantage in attracting federal grants and competing in the global economy.”

The program includes access to NYSTAR’s allocation of the computational time located at the two supercomputing centers (i.e., at RPI and the Stony Brook/Brookhaven National Lab); the use of the NYSERNet, which provides the required bandwidth for data-intensive research and connects the major academic research centers together; and the assistance of a team of experts who are dispatched to users’ locations to help maximize their efficiency.

Ridley explains, “New York State is in a leadership position in both computational resources and talent in the areas of simulation-based engineering and High Performance Computing. NYSTAR has recognized that to truly leverage these resources and unleash the innovative and creative talent located throughout New York, a program was needed to encourage investigators to work in a seamless collaborative environment. The problems of today are more complex than ever before and routinely cross scientific domains. For this reason, this program focuses on multi-disciplinary approaches to problems which need to be handled in new and innovative ways.”

Ridley added, “The HPC Program was designed to attract world-class researchers from both the academic and private sector in order to tackle grand challenges and provide solutions to their most difficult problems. At the same time, researchers are building skill sets in data analysis, simulation engineering, and visualization to ultimately pass their knowledge on to other innovators. We expect that within this HPC ecosystem, new industries and business opportunities will be created throughout New York State and will be seated in a better position to attract additional federal research dollars to build upon the State’s world-class research workforce.

“This is an incredible opportunity for researchers and product developers to collaborate on the creation of innovative products and solutions and thereby gain a competitive advantage in the global marketplace. The technologies of today are no longer confined to a particular domain or a researcher in a specific geographic region. The challenges of today demand a multi-disciplinary approach and a free flow of information. NYSTAR’s goal with this program is to link together disparate groups of researchers and people and their ideas like never before. These new linkages will allow all parts of New York to contribute their regional expertise and participate in and grow the innovation economy.”

Current Research Focus

HPC2 is currently developing a website using technologies based on proven social networking tools to build a virtual collaborative environment that will link researchers and businesses to the research cyber-infrastructure. This will create a valuable platform for research and link researchers across the state, while acting as a repository for source code and an online medium for webinars and training tutorials aimed at helping researchers execute code on the supercomputers. The intent is to move the complexities of supercomputing into the background in order to let researchers concentrate on their research. This will be accomplished by providing a medium in which many different domains come together to focus their energies on solving the fundamental problems facing industry and society.

NYSTAR’s Centers for Advanced Technology (CATs), of which there are currently 15, perform research in such areas as optics, energy, nanotechnology, biotechnology, telecommunications, material sciences, information technology, and environmental energy sciences. They will now be able to enhance their research efforts with their industrial partners through access to high-performance computers provided by this new program. In addition to the allocation of time, HPC2 will have computational scientists with a variety of skill sets ready and available to assist researchers in any scientific discipline to use these computational assets and reduce the learning curve of new computational tools as they are deployed.

Research Projects

NYSTAR’S HPC Program has already partnered with New York State industrial leaders to enable them to compete in the global economy. These partnerships include the following:

• GE is currently working with HPC2 on simulation and modeling for a smart grid as well as more efficient generator design;
• Gould Pumps is working with the HPC2 on product design and materials composition for the development of more reliable and energy-efficient industrial pumps;
• Kodak and Xerox are also working with HPC2 on product improvements; and
• IBM, Pfizer and Corning are using it as well.

Patents and Disclosures

At this time, no patents are held by HPC2. Professors at New York University (NYU), Colombia, Cornell, and RPI all have papers and findings that will be published in the coming months that were a result of the computational assets provided by HPC2 to the researchers.

Funding Sources

In 2008, NYSTAR awarded a $3 million grant over three years from its Center for Advanced Technology Development Program to establish the HPC2.

Contact Info

NYSTAR also has reserved a large allocation of computational time at the supercomputing centers located at RPI’s CCNI and Stony Brook/Brookhaven National Lab for use by researchers and business. This service is available at little or no cost to all NYS institutions. For more information on using the state’s reserved supercomputing time at no cost, please visit NYSTAR’s website.

Michael P. Ridley, Director
High Performance Computing, NYSTAR
(518) 292-5700