Stanzione to lead Texas Advanced Computing Center


One of UT Austin’s premier research units is the Texas Advanced Computing Center. I’m proud to announce that Dan C. Stanzione Jr. has been named executive director of TACC. Dan has served as deputy director since June 2009 and assumed his new post July 1.

UT Austin has become a global leader in supercomputing thanks to TACC and the research it supports. Under Dan’s leadership, I believe our computers will become even more powerful and our research even more world-changing.

Dan is the principal investigator for several leading projects including a multimillion-dollar National Science Foundation grant to deploy and support TACC’s Stampede supercomputer over four years. In Stampede’s first year of operation, 3,500 researchers nationwide used it to further their science and engineering research projects. He is also principle investigator of TACC’s upcoming Wrangler system, a supercomputer designed specifically for data-focused applications.

Dan will preside over the construction of a new office facility adjacent to the research complex at the Pickle Research Campus in North Austin. This facility will allow TACC to expand its visualization capabilities and provide new spaces for training, collaboration, and public events.

Dan earned three degrees from Clemson University, where he later directed the supercomputing laboratory and served as an assistant research professor of electrical and computer engineering. He previously served as the founding director of the Fulton High Performance Computing Initiative at Arizona State University and served as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy Fellow in the NSF’s Division of Graduate Education.

I’m looking forward to watching TACC’s growth under Dan’s leadership.

Bill's Signature

Best 12 Stories of the Academic Year

Campus scenes 2012 McCombs, Union, Tower and flowers

As the 2011-2012 academic year comes to a close, it’s a good time to look back on a dozen good milestones and accomplishments from the year. All of these achievements, which we reached as a community, indicate our growing strength as a university of national and international importance. So here, in no particular order, is my list:

(Clicking on the numbered item will take you to a related article.)

1. Medical School Momentum
With support from Senator Kirk Watson, the UT System, the Seton Healthcare Family, and others, we now have real momentum toward a medical school at UT Austin.

2. Four-year Graduation Rate Initiative
Our Task Force on Undergraduate Graduation Rates submitted more than 60 recommendations for faster time-to-degree, and we’re already acting on them.

 3. Study finds UT No. 2 in efficiency
Factoring together multiple indicators of efficiency such as graduation rates, state support, and faculty employed put UT Austin nearly at the top nationally.

4. New Deans and Vice President
Leadership is critical to the success of any institution, and this year we recruited four outstanding executives to the campus. Luis Zayas became dean of Social Work; Linda Hicke will lead Natural Sciences; Ward Farnsworth is our new dean of Law; and Gage Paine will become our new vice president for student affairs.

5. Course Transformation
Using new educational technology and new findings in cognitive science, introductory courses in chemistry, statistics, and biology have been energized by experimental formats that increase interaction between students and teachers and among students themselves. And class attendance is up.

6. Big 12 strengthens with new members
The Horned Frogs and Mountaineers joined the conference to replace departing Aggies and Tigers.

7. Stampede
UT’s Texas Advanced Computing Center won a National Science Foundation supercomputer grant worth a potential $50 million.

8. Alumni join students in The Project
Texas Exes chapters pitch in to take UT students’ community service project nationwide.

9. UT Business professors, Graduate Programs in Education and Accounting No. 1 in nation
The Princeton Review gave McCombs faculty top honors; U.S. News and World Report again ranked the graduate programs in our College of Education best among public universities in the nation and our graduate accounting program was ranked No. 1 for the seventh straight year.

10. UT hosts Fire Relief Benefit
Star-studded Erwin Center event raised $725,000 for Bastrop County fire victims.

11. Harry Ransom Center acquires J.M. Coetzee Archive
A Nobel-winning novelist trusts his alma mater with his papers.

12. Campaign for Texas reaches $1.93 billion
We expect to reach the $2 billion milestone this summer.

I’m so proud of this university and all it does every day to make the world a better place. Although no one knows what will be on this list a year from now, I know it will change the world.

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.


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:

Hook ’em Horns!

Bill's Signature