Jan 09 2015

New Cray Supercomputer to Power Hawaii’s Higher Ed Research

Cutting-edge technology is opening new Big Data opportunities in higher ed.

A Cray supercomputer in the data center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa will soon be used for data-intensive research at several schools across the island state.

The Cray CS cluster supercomputer is the state university system's first centralized, high-performance computing system, housing about 22.7TB of memory in a machine the size of two refrigerators, the Pacific Business News reports. The supercomputer’s power will soon be made available to researchers across the University of Hawaii System, which includes three universities, seven community colleges and several community-based learning centers.

"The Cray high performance computing system will empower innovative research by enabling cost-effective access to big data capabilities for researchers at UH Manoa and across the State of Hawaii," said university president David Lassner in a press release.

University faculty members are being introduced to the research capabilities of the supercomputer through the school's Information Training Center. The Digital Arts and Humanities department will soon be trained in how to take advantage of the supercomputer, according to a post on the department's website.

The UH system has made a name for itself through its work in astronomy, oceanography, climate, atmospheric, space and energy research, subjects that will provide ample opportunities for researchers using the new technology, according to the release.

Harnessing the power of supercomputers for research isn’t new to higher education institutions, but it is a growing trend. In November, Indiana University announced its participation in the development of a supercomputing cloud named Jetstream, funded by the National Science Foundation.

The university’s CIO, Brad Wheeler, described the system as “a big easy button” for researchers who have yet to make the leap to supercomputers.

Another supercomputing initiative in higher education is beginning at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. The Bridges project will empower universities to tackle vast amounts of data for research throughout the Northeast, according to an article from the Pittsburgh Technology Council.