Good news from across the University

Stampede PI photo

Stampede’s principal investigators: Tommy Minyard, Bill Barth, Jay Boisseau, Dan Stanzione, Karl Schulz of UT’s Texas Advanced Computing Center

Every day I see firsthand the importance of having strong national research universities in Texas. Three Texas congressmen — Lamar Smith, Michael McCaul, and Roger Williams — joined us yesterday on our campus to dedicate Stampede, our newest supercomputer. It’s capable of processing nearly 10 quadrillion mathematical computations per second. Stampede is currently the largest system available to scientists across the United States, thousands of whom will use the supercomputer to conduct scientific research and make discoveries as diverse as isolating new drug compounds, modeling the effects of climate change, searching for gravitational waves, and developing more efficient energy resources.

UT Austin won a nationwide competition for a $51.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build Stampede. That’s good for your university, good for the advancement of science, and good for Texas.

We’ve had a lot of good news lately:

  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates was on campus to dedicate the Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall, made possible by a $30 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and $10 million from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
  • Our men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won Big 12 championships. Good luck to the men, who will be competing for the national championship this weekend.
  • Former Regent Robert Rowling and his wife, Terry, pledged $25 million for a new home for the McCombs School of Business graduate programs to be named Rowling Hall.
  • A record 38,000 students applied for the 2013-14 freshman class.

I hope you are as proud as I am of all that the University is accomplishing every day with the help of alumni, students, faculty, and staff.

Hook ’em!

 

Bill's Signature

 

 

UT Charges Ahead with Major Supercomputing Grant

On Thursday I was out at UT’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus to help announce a major award from the National Science Foundation. TACC has received a $27.5 million grant to commence work in partnership with Dell and Intel to build the next generation supercomputer “Stampede” for open-science research. The NSF is expected to invest $50 million over four years in this landmark project. Congratulations to TACC director Jay Boisseau and his entire team at TACC!

For those of you who would like to hear more about this project, here’s a short video of Jay discussing Stampede.

This grant solidifies UT’s role as one of the world’s supercomputing hubs. Although the advanced computing that these systems enable is a scientific and engineering feat in itself, the true significance of this project can be found in the expansion of knowledge and innovation that this computational power makes possible. It would be much faster to list the areas that advanced computing does not affect than to try and list every one that it does. Advanced computing aids our design of everything from vehicles to new medical technologies and helps us better predict weather patterns, the effects of natural disasters, and climate change. Stampede will enable research on more than 1,000 projects across the nation and across disciplines, promoting collaboration and problem solving at UT and beyond.

This project exemplifies the TACC motto: UT is “Powering Discoveries that Change the World.”

Hook ’em,

Bill's Signature

More Horsepower for Scientific Research

High-speed computing is the fuel on which much of the modern research university runs. It allows us to find patterns and order in what, to the naked eye, looks like chaos. And in doing so, high-speed computing helps us make greater sense of our world, the first step toward overcoming our many challenges.

You know a computer is special when it gets its own name and ceremony, and next week, I’ll help dedicate just such a machine. We call it Lonestar 4, and it will reside at the Texas Advanced Computing Center on UT’s Pickle Research Campus.

Lonestar4

Like its predecessors at TACC, Lonestar 4 will be among the most powerful academic supercomputers in the world, with peak performance of 302 teraflops and more than 44 terabytes of total memory. What those numbers mean is that scientists will be able to better model earthquakes and tsunamis, better predict hurricanes, help with oil and gas recovery, develop alternative energy, and do breakthrough biological research.

Building Lonestar 4 required the collaboration of 11 academic units and technology corporations, and it will be Texas’ largest technology-sharing endeavor.

As a university president, I have a special stake in this amazing hardware because high-powered computing is key to attracting the best talent to our faculty and enabling their work once they get here. Supercomputers are critical to our competitiveness as a 21st century research institution.

Computing power is becoming like a utility, that is, it’s becoming ever more distributed, and as that happens, more powerful. Like gas or electricity in the last century, computing is becoming more essential to social development itself. And just as with other types of energy, Texas and UT are leading the way in harnessing this new fuel that drives knowledge and progress.

No large and complex project gets off the ground without talented leadership, and I want to thank TACC director Jay Boisseau and his team for continuing to make UT proud.

You can read more about Lonestar 4 and what supercomputers are being used for here: www.tacc.utexas.edu

Hook ’em Horns!

Bill's Signature