The "Install Day" event took place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Mathematical Sciences Building on the Purdue campus. President Mitch Daniels and other dignitaries were expected to be on site beginning at approximately 11 a.m. as volunteers unpacked the supercomputer's pieces and assembled the machine in the high-performance computing data centre.
The new supercomputer, named Rice, will have roughly 7,000 times the processing power of an average laptop. More than 150 Purdue research labs and hundreds of faculty and students use supercomputers like Rice to develop new treatments for cancer, improve crop yields to better feed the planet, engineer quieter aircraft, study global climate change and probe the origins of the universe, among many other topics.
Rice should give Purdue three machines on the latest biannual TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers and maintain Purdue's place as offering the best high-performance computing resources in the United States for use by researchers on a single campus. Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), the university's central computing organisation, and faculty partners have built six TOP500-class supercomputers at Purdue since 2008 - Rice will be the seventh - and a major research data storage system in 2014.
Purdue has a tradition of naming its supercomputers after the many computing pioneers in the university's history. The new supercomputer is named for John R. Rice, the W. Brooks Fortune Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Purdue. Rice, one of the earliest faculty members of Purdue's first-in-the-nation computer science programme, is known for his research on scientific computing.