The updated supercomputer, nicknamed the Cardinal Research Cluster (CRC), was officially 'powered up' this month and will provide researchers at the UofL with much needed computing capacity. The initial system, first installed in 2009, was working at 100 percent capacity as researchers tested the limits of the IBM iDataPlex high performance computing cluster. With this smarter computing system that is designed and optimized to meet the University's high capacity needs, researchers can speed up potential medical breakthroughs.
For example, researchers at the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center working on cancer treatments for the last 3 years have screened over 200 cancer targets. The enhanced computer will enable an additional focus on pediatric cancers, such as Neuroblastoma and Ewing's Sarcoma.
The supercomputer is also helping UofL researchers at the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research explore new approaches for capturing solar energy. Work is now underway to develop new semiconductor materials that can efficiently capture and store solar energy.
"Our researchers and staff have been able to greatly expand innovation in critical areas with the help of the Cardinal Research Cluster", stated Priscilla Hancock, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, University of Louisville. "Collaborating with IBM has given the University access to high performing systems that optimally manage our research."
IBM also awarded UofL a Shared University Research (SUR) award to help further their efforts. This includes the donation of extra computing systems and gives the university access to IBM engineers who will work closely with the University's information technology staff to get maximum performance from the supercomputer.
"The research efforts at the University of Louisville are a prime example of the innovation needed across the United States to advance economic competiveness and improve quality of life for citizens", stated Michael Svinte, Vice President Smarter Cities and Healthcare, IBM. "It's encouraging to see the progress the teams have made on smarter health care and energy projects using high performance computing technology from IBM."
The UofL CRC added a new iDataPlex systems to the original cluster and now has a peak speed of more than 40 teraflops (trillion calculations per second), roughly 10,000 to 20,000 times faster than today's average desktop computer.
To fund this upgrade UofL received a $1.8 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, a unit of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.