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Monday, October 18, 2021

HiPerGator supercomputer makes its debut at university

UF is now home to Florida’s most powerful computer.

On May 7, the university unveiled HiPerGator, a supercomputer capable of 150 trillion calculations per second. About 70 people attended the unveiling. The supercomputer is housed in the new 25,000-square-foot UF Data Center, at 2008 NE Waldo Road, which was built in part to house the machine.

“HiPerGator is the crowning piece of an overall strategy to bring the university’s research computer environment to the top-10 level,” said Erik Deumens, director of research computing at UF.

When that strategy began to take shape in 2004 it did not initially include a supercomputer, Deumens said.

“We basically said, ‘the university needs this much computing power.’ It just happened to be in the range of a supercomputer,” he said.

To build the $3.4 million supercomputer, the university collaborated with Advanced Micro Devices, Dell, Mellanox Technologies and Terascala. HiPerGator’s 16,384 processing cores give it the computing power of more than 4,000 desktop computers, Deumens said.

He said the supercomputer will be used primarily for data-intensive research, including gene sequencing, weather modeling and analysis of chemical structures.

UF physics professor Paul Avery, chair of the Research Computing Advisory Committee, said the increased computing power would be immensely helpful in his work. Avery is part of a group of UF researchers that helped confirm the Higgs boson.

Although some will get more use out of HiPerGator than others, Deumens said any researcher at the university can access it.

“We focused this machine to be for everybody at UF,” he said.

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