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Rutgers Launches HPC Center for Big Data

Rutgers has launched a high-performance computing (HPC) center at the university focused on the application of "Big Data" analytics in life sciences, finance, and other industries. The center is aimed at improving the economic competitiveness of New Jersey's public and private research organizations.

The HPC center will be part of the newly created Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute (RDI2) and will utilize supercomputing equipment and software provided by IBM in the project's first phase. Rutgers anticipates future expansion of the center will lead to the university having one of the world's most powerful academic supercomputers.

The institute, powered by an IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer, has several goals:

  • Creating an HPC resource for industry in New Jersey and the surrounding region
  • Educating the New Jersey workforce and Rutgers students in working with advanced analytics and a state-of-the-art HPC center, and
  • Providing HPC resources to Rutgers faculty members and regional organizations.

The collaboration involving Rutgers and IBM scientists and engineers is expected to extend beyond computer science and engineering, to encompass fields such as cancer and genetic research, medical imaging and informatics, advanced manufacturing, environmental and climate research, and materials science.

"The application of analytics to 'big data' has quickly emerged as the new foundry of the 21st century economy," said Phil Guido, IBM general manager, North America. "IBM is eager to work with Rutgers to help improve New Jersey's economic competitiveness through this center. IBM firmly believes that public-private collaboration and research can be critical in ensuring our workforce is equipped and empowered with next generation skills like analytics."

The IBM Blue Gene supercomputer, housed in the Hill Center for Mathematics on Rutgers' Busch Campus in Piscataway, will be the only supercomputer available to commercial users in the state. Only eight of the nation's 62 scientific computation centers have industrial partnership programs. The two Blue Gene/P racks at Rutgers will be far more powerful than any computer at the university today. "Excalibur" is the name Rutgers has chosen for it, playing off the university's sports mascot, the Scarlet Knight.

Rutgers has agreed to purchase hardware and software from IBM, as well as entering into a three-year maintenance agreement for the equipment. As future funding becomes available, Rutgers expects to add the latest-generation Blue Gene/Q system by the end of the year. Rutgers also envisions building an expanded facility on the Busch campus in 2013 as the system and center grows.

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