To infinity…. and beyond: UVM supercomputer reaches warp speed

Local News

The University of Vermont rolled out an upgrade to its supercomputer Wednesday that officials say makes it one of the 100 fastest academic supercomputers in the country.

The upgrade, called DeepGreen, is a new cluster of high performance graphics processing units, or GPUs. It was funded with the help of a National Science Foundation grant.

The university says its supercomputer, the Vermont Advanced Computing Core or VACC, can now handle speeds of more than one petaflop, the equivalent of 20,000 laptop computers working in tandem. 

That’s roughly 3,000 times faster than the VACC’s previous speed.

“This is massive upgrade, and a necessary one,” said Richard Galbraith, UVM’s vice president for research. “In this age of big data, having a facility like this is absolutely essential for our faculty to stay at the cutting edge of their disciplines.” 

UVM officials say both faculty and students will be able to do research not possible with conventional processing speeds.

Physics Professor Adrian Del Maestro, director of the VACC, said researchers will use the new capacity to enhance research into everything from safer human-robot interactions to the genome re-sequencing of the Colorado potato beetle.

“It one of the fastest supercomputers in New England,” he said, “and one of the 100 fastest academic supercomputers in the country.”

Suresh Garimella, UVM’s new president, said it will give the school a competitive advantage.

“It’s good for the faculty, it’s great for interdisciplinary research and you see a lot of excitement,” he said. “I think for them to have worked on something like this not only gives them an opportunity to do great research, but it also makes them very employable.”

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