U of I researchers join effort to build new supercomputing system


by Texas A&M University and the College of LAS at Illinois

Backed by a multi-million-dollar federal grant, a research team from three major universities will soon start working on a pioneering supercomputing system that allows scientists and engineers to align its processors, accelerators, memory, and other hardware components to best serve their needs.

Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Texas A&M University, and the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) will begin collaborating on a prototype for the Accelerating Computing for Emerging Sciences (ACES) system.

This innovative system will operate increasingly complex levels of software while sidestepping the hardware bottlenecks that often hinder high-level computations. This system will let researchers perform calculations and solve problems that current supercomputers cannot handle.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide $5 million for ACES development and an additional $1 million per year over five years to pay for system operation and support.

ACES will open new avenues to scientific advancement, said Shaowen Wang, head of the Department of Geography & Geographic Information Science and a co-principal investigator on the ACES project.

“Exciting advances on many science frontiers will become possible by harnessing the hybrid computing resources and highly adaptable framework offered by ACES to enable increasingly complex scientific workflows driven by geospatial big data and artificial intelligence,” Wang said. “We will develop cutting-edge cyberGIS software and tools to enable novel scientific workflows for taking advantage of this incredible high-performance computing resource to make exciting research and education advances across several interdisciplinary domains, such as emergency management, human-environment and geographical sciences, and public health.”

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