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WSU wins SI HPC cluster grant

Wayne State University (WSU) is the recipient of Silicon Mechanics' third Annual Research Cluster Grant, a programme in which the company and its partners donate a complete high-performance compute cluster. The university, located in midtown Detroit, is one of the nation’s 50 largest public universities, with annual research expenditures of nearly $260 million, and among only 3.5 percent of US universities with the Carnegie Foundation’s highest research classification.

This year’s HPC cluster contains eight compute nodes, one head node, Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors, Nvidia Tesla GPUs, and InfiniBand and gigabit Ethernet networking. The cluster will be shared by a variety of the most computation-intensive research groups on campus. The grant application was submitted jointly by two interdisciplinary collaborative research teams, and includes both computer scientists and domain scientists focusing on chemistry, mathematics, physics, and biology, along with cancer and biomedical research.

Producing skilled programmers is a hot topic for the HPC industry, and will be addressed at WSU as graduate and undergraduate students will use the new HPC cluster in research projects, and the cluster will also be part of new courses to be offered on computing with GPUs. The high-end system is expected to prove useful for students testing their code, allowing them to observe the maximum benefits of GPU programming. In addition, the cluster will also be used for education and demonstration of the state-of-the-art technology at a variety of events promoting STEM education aiming to get students engaged with HPC as soon as possible.

Wayne State’s Vice President for Research, Dr Hilary Ratner, said: ‘We are thrilled to be a recipient of Silicon Mechanics' generous grant programme. Our research faculty are pushing the boundaries of discovery, and this high performance computing equipment will help accelerate innovative work across our campus.’

According to Art Mann, Silicon Mechanics’ education, research, and government vertical group manager, WSU stood out in the field of applicants, based on the high level of collaboration across departments, the clear and convincing description of the need for the cluster, as well as specific applications that would use the processors, graphic processing units and Phi co-processors, and the extremely high level of benefit and positive impacts to faculty, students, and the greater Detroit community.

The HPC cluster includes hardware and software donated by Intel, Nvidia, HGST, Mellanox Technologies, Supermicro, Seagate, Kingston Technology, Bright Computing, and LSI Logic.

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