November 19, 2012

Computation is now an essential tool for researchers, as data analytics and complex simulations fuel ambitious new studies in the sciences and humanities. But the path from a spreadsheet on a laptop to using the world’s most powerful supercomputers can be intimidating for researchers unfamiliar with computational methods.

To help researchers along this path, the University created the Research Computing Center, providing access to hardware and expertise to faculty and students. At an opening reception on Thursday, Nov. 8 at the John Crerar Library, scientists from Argonne National Laboratory and IBM joined Research Computing Center director H. Birali Runesha in welcoming UChicago researchers to this valuable new resource.

“The mission of the Research Computing Center is to advance research and scholarship at the University,” Runesha said. “What we are trying to do here is not just provide access to hardware, but to work with you to understand your research and integrate high-performance computing into it to achieve our major goal, which is to help you literally transform your research by performing computational analysis that would otherwise not be possible.”

The cornerstone of the Research Computing Center is the new Midway computing cluster, offering more than 3,000 cores of high-performance computational power to researchers. But John Kelly, IBM director of research, said that the value of such a resource goes beyond computing power.

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