New Supercomputer coming to the Rocky Mountain Region

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder), in collaboration with Colorado State University (CSU), is building a new $3.55 million state-of-the-art high performance computing system. Funding for this project comes from a $2.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation, along with matching university funds. This new supercomputer, to be named Summit, will be three times faster and use half as much energy as its predecessor at CU-Boulder. The system, to be built by Dell, will replace the 5-year-old supercomputer currently housed on the Boulder campus. The system will be available to faculty, students and staff at both institutions to advance research and education.

Summit will have an expected performance of about 450 TFLOPS and will include several new hardware components such as 20 Intel® Xeon Phi ™(“Knights Landing”) nodes and Intel Omni-Path high-performance interconnect. Summit will also offer 1 PB of high-performance scratch storage for researchers to utilize. According to Pete Ruprecht, CU-Boulder Senior HPC Analyst and Co-PI of the project, "We think that the mix of established and cutting-edge technologies that are built into Summit will provide researchers with a familiar platform that has the forward-looking performance to meet their needs for many years." Ruprecht also noted that "We consulted with many research groups from a variety of disciplines across campus to help determine what capabilities the new system should have.  CSU's computing community provided details about the needs of their users as well.  Summit should easily handle researchers’ existing applications and add substantial new capacity for data-intensive workloads."

Thomas Hauser, director of research computing and the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation award, explained that researchers studying astrophysics, chemistry, physics, bioinformatics, life sciences, social sciences and other topics can benefit from the new system.  “Our current supercomputer has been a great addition to the CU-Boulder computational infrastructure  and has benefited the researchers of our campus greatly, but computers become more powerful and energy efficient every year. The new system will have three times the performance and half the energy needs so it makes sense to deploy a new supercomputer.” Hauser also noted “I think everybody is excited to have access to a state-of-the-art supercomputer." Patrick Burns, the vice president for Information Technology at CSU and a Co-PI of CSU’s proposal team stated, “We are pleased that, as a result of our successful collaboration with the University of Colorado, [we] can provide high-performance computing for the Colorado State campus.” H.J. Siegel, PI of the CSU proposal group, added, “What’s more, the new system will utilize the universities’ combined resources to ensure users access to software, consulting, best practices, HPC courses and data management services.”

Although the system will be physically housed in Boulder, it will be accessed by CSU researchers through a fiber connection, BISON (Bi-State optical network)  so it will perform as if it were on CSU’s local network. The system will also be made available to members of the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium (RMACC), which consists of universities and research centers in several intermountain states. As two of the founding members of RMACC, CU-Boulder and CSU will be allocating cycles on the new system to RMACC  members with the unique goal of facilitating research collaborations across many disciplines and multiple locations.

The members of the CU proposal team are Thomas Hauser, Director of Research Computing, Pete Ruprecht, Senior HPC Analyst, James Syvitski,  Executive Director- CSDMS, Anna Hasenfratz, Physics Professor, and Ken Jansen, Professor in the Center for Aerospace Structures.

The members of the CSU proposal team are Patrick Burns, Vice President for Information Technology, H.J. Siegel, Abell Endowed Chair Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering,  Ed Chong, Director of the Information and Science and Technology Center, and Jessica Prenni, Director of Research Core Facilities in the Office of the Vice President for Research.