Wayne State University Awarded Silicon Mechanics’ 2014 Research Cluster Grant

High-performance cluster to aid with cutting-edge collaborative research

Released: 30-Apr-2014 2:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Wayne State University Division of Research
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Newswise — Wayne State University is the recipient of Silicon Mechanics’ third Annual Research Cluster Grant, a program in which the company and its partners are donating a complete high-performance compute (HPC) cluster.

The addition of the Silicon Mechanics cluster to WSU is expected to provide a powerful and flexible new research tool.

As a significant update to WSU’s current computing grid, the cluster will be shared by the most computation-intensive research groups on campus. The grant application was submitted jointly by two interdisciplinary collaborative research teams, and includes both computer scientists and domain scientists focusing on chemistry, mathematics, physics and biology, along with cancer and biomedical research.

One project will be developing new experimental tools to understand grain growth dynamics, which is crucial to control the hardness and strength of a wide range of engineering materials. Another project is improving Monte Carlo molecular simulations, which are used to investigate why certain molecular systems exhibit certain characteristics and evaluate novel molecular solutions.

Graduate and undergraduate students will use the new HPC cluster in research projects, and it will also be part of new courses offered on computing with Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). The high-end system is expected to prove useful for students testing their code, allowing them to observe the maximum benefits of GPU programming. In addition, the cluster will be used for education and demonstration of the state-of-the-art technology at a variety of events promoting STEM education, popularizing the HPC concept among students and the thriving high-tech industry in Detroit.

“We are thrilled to be a recipient of Silicon Mechanics' generous grant program,” said Hilary Ratner, Wayne State’s vice president for research. “Our research faculty are pushing the boundaries of discovery, and this high-performance computing equipment will help accelerate innovative work across our campus."

According to Art Mann, Silicon Mechanics’ education, research and government vertical group manager, Wayne State stood out in the field of applicants because of the high level of collaboration across its departments; the clear and convincing description of the need for the cluster; the specific applications that would use the processors, graphic processing units and Phi coprocessors; and the extremely high level of benefit to faculty, students and the Greater Detroit community.

The HPC cluster, valued at about $190,000, includes hardware and software donated by Intel, NVIDIA, HGST, Mellanox Technologies, Supermicro, Seagate, Kingston Technology, Bright Computing and LSI Logic. This year’s HPC cluster contains eight compute nodes, one head node, Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors, NVIDIA® Tesla® GPUs, and InfiniBand and gigabit Ethernet networking.

About Silicon Mechanics
Silicon Mechanics, Inc. is an industry-leading provider of rackmount server, storage and high-performance computing solutions. Deploying the latest innovations in hardware and software technology, we work in collaboration with our customers to design and build the most efficient, cost-effective technology solution for their needs. Our guiding principle, “expert included,” is our promise that reflects our passion for complete customer satisfaction, from server and component selection to superior installation and ongoing technical support. Silicon Mechanics has been recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in the Greater Seattle Technology Corridor.

About Wayne State University
Wayne State University is one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.