March 31, 2011

More Horsepower for Scientific Research

High-speed computing is the fuel on which much of the modern research university runs. It allows us to find patterns and order in what, to the naked eye, looks like chaos. And in doing so, high-speed computing helps us make greater sense of our world, the first step toward overcoming our many challenges.

You know a computer is special when it gets its own name and ceremony, and next week, I’ll help dedicate just such a machine. We call it Lonestar 4, and it will reside at the Texas Advanced Computing Center on UT’s Pickle Research Campus.

Lonestar4

Like its predecessors at TACC, Lonestar 4 will be among the most powerful academic supercomputers in the world, with peak performance of 302 teraflops and more than 44 terabytes of total memory. What those numbers mean is that scientists will be able to better model earthquakes and tsunamis, better predict hurricanes, help with oil and gas recovery, develop alternative energy, and do breakthrough biological research.

Building Lonestar 4 required the collaboration of 11 academic units and technology corporations, and it will be Texas’ largest technology-sharing endeavor.

As a university president, I have a special stake in this amazing hardware because high-powered computing is key to attracting the best talent to our faculty and enabling their work once they get here. Supercomputers are critical to our competitiveness as a 21st century research institution.

Computing power is becoming like a utility, that is, it’s becoming ever more distributed, and as that happens, more powerful. Like gas or electricity in the last century, computing is becoming more essential to social development itself. And just as with other types of energy, Texas and UT are leading the way in harnessing this new fuel that drives knowledge and progress.

No large and complex project gets off the ground without talented leadership, and I want to thank TACC director Jay Boisseau and his team for continuing to make UT proud.

You can read more about Lonestar 4 and what supercomputers are being used for here: www.tacc.utexas.edu

Hook ’em Horns!

Bill's Signature






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One Response to “More Horsepower for Scientific Research”

  1. AK says:

    Fantastic job. Thanks for sharing the story, Mr. Powers.