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Friday, April 12, 2024

One year after the introduction of Florida’s most powerful supercomputer, UF researchers are asking the university for a second one.

Negotiations and planning have begun to create a second HiPerGator, one that is bigger and faster than its predecessor. Erik Deumens, director of research computing at UF, said the HiPerGator’s system is expected to be 70 percent full by February.

“The acceptance of HiPerGator has been so fast, faster than we projected,” Deumens said. “We plan for HiPerGator 2 to be online in June 2015. That’s when the first one will run out of capacity.”

About 360 faculty members and their research groups have access to the HiPerGator supercomputer, with the total number of users amounting to 1,300. UF spent about $3.4 million on the first HiPerGator, which was built by UF researchers, Dell, Terascala, Mellanox and AMD. The supercomputer has 16,384 processing cores and is one of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.

The development of a second HiPerGator supercomputer will be an acquisition the university will fund, Deumens said. Faculty will also use their grants to buy pieces of it in order for the university to recover their funds.

The creation of a second supercomputer will be an important addition to UF’s preeminence plan, which Deumens said has been a strong selling point in hiring new researchers.

“From the feedback of many people we’ve hired, almost all of them were very impressed with the infrastructure that UF had in place,” he said.

About 20 new researchers who have been hired made their decision to work at the university based on the HiPerGator, and several more negotiations for new staff are still in progress, he said. Some of the UF research projects using the supercomputer include predicting political elections from data gathered before citizens vote to processing the impact of HIV on the human brain. Once the second HiPerGator launches in June, researchers will continue to use the original supercomputer until its four-year lifespan expires.

Michael Elliot, a UF computer engineering junior, said he’s excited to see the how UF’s research projects turn out with the help of the HiPerGator supercomputer.

“It’s not every day that you hear about a supercomputer existing on campus,” said Elliot. “I think it’s probably even rarer to hear about two of them in one place. I think that’s pretty special.”

[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 11/17/2014]

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