MRI: Acquisition of High Performance Hybrid Computing Cluster to Advance Cyber-Enabled Science and Education at Penn State

Project: Research project

Project Details


Computers are now becoming the driving forces for ground-breaking discoveries and are transforming the science and education in this new data-driven era. The Cyber-Laboratory for Astronomy, Materials and Physics (CyberLAMP) at Penn State will put together a cutting-edge supercomputer cluster that includes both traditional central processing units (CPUs) and the latest hardware accelerators, such as graphics processing units (GPUs), to advance interdisciplinary research and education in cyberscience. Astronomers and physicists will use this high-performance hybrid computer to analyze data from revolutionary surveys and experiments and to perform state-of-the-art simulations to unravel of the origin of our Universe. Material scientists will run realistic, atomistic-scale, simulations to guide the design and development of next-generation complex materials. Computer scientists will analyze these science applications to inform the design of future computer architectures. These advances in both data analysis and simulations will enable the CyberLAMP members to shed new light on topics prioritized by national strategic plans, such as National Research Council's 2010 Decadal Survey for astronomy and astrophysics to search for habitable planets and to understand the fundamental physics of the cosmos and the White House's Materials Genome Initiative to expedite development of new materials. Furthermore, the CyberLAMP team will employ this cluster to enhance a wide range of outreach programs including: computational education to numerous students at The Pennsylvania State University, including its Commonwealth campuses; summer workshops for researchers and high-school teachers; and partnerships with industry to advance materials research and the co-design of future hardware-software systems.

By expediting exploratory data analysis and simulations and catalyzing cross-disciplinary collaboration in developing and prototyping algorithms, the new hybrid cluster will enable the CyberLAMP team to deliver transformative breakthroughs in a number of key research areas. This includes state-of-the-art astrostatistics and astroinformatics for data analysis for world-leading surveys in cosmology and exoplanets, as well as sophisticated simulations to directly address the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and the formation of planetary systems; an order-of-magnitude increase of speed for reconstruction algorithms for the most ambitious astrophysical experiments probing fundamental physics, which will enlarge the discovery space for cosmic sources of neutrinos, gravity waves, and multi-messenger emitters, as well as heighten sensitivity to the neutrino mass hierarchy; dramatic advances in nanosecond-scale fully reactive molecular dynamics simulations for the development of next-generation complex materials; and novel insights for designing the next-generation of hardware accelerators in hybrid systems, highly parallel algorithms and software interfaces which could revolutionize the way hardware accelerators are used by data-intensive applications.

Effective start/end date10/1/169/30/19


  • National Science Foundation: $920,688.00


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