In September, UNLV announced that tech industry leaders Switch SUPERNAP and Intel were working together with UNLV to bring one of the world's most powerful supercomputers to Las Vegas.
UNLV was recently awarded the use of the Intel "Cherry Creek" supercomputer, which ranks among the world's fastest and most powerful supercomputers for its combination of speed, power, and energy efficiency. [Read the full media release]
The speed of the Cherry Creek supercomputer is incomprehensible to most of us, but UNLV supercomputer administrators are geeked about its "massively parallel processing" and FLOPS speed rating of 200 trillion floating point operations per second. It ranked 400th on the Top500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers and 41st in energy efficiency.
Joseph Lombardo, executive director of UNLV's National Supercomputing Center for Energy and the Environment, put those FLOPS in perspective for us: A scientist with a handheld calculator would need 159,000 years of nonstop calculating to match a single second of the Cherry Creek supercomputer.
How we'll use it
The Cherry Creek supercomputer will boost UNLV's research in such areas as genomics and bioinformatics, climate research, molecular modeling, and data analytics. Here are four ways UNLV experts will tap into its processing power:
Despite substantial progress in studying the disease's etiology, treatments are still limited. Life sciences professor Marty Schiller and psychology professor Jeffery Kinney are exploring genome-based therapies, but such analyses involve processing massive amounts of data.
Hydraulic fracturing, a technique for extracting oil and gas from shale rock, often takes place a mile or more below groundwater supplies. Mechanical engineering professor Darrell Pepper is using sophisticated numerical models to more accurately predict the prime locations for extraction and to assess possible contamination associated the process.
Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous and violent explosions in the universe. They signify the deaths, collisions, or swallowing up of stars. Astrophysicist Bing Zhang is advancing our understanding of the physical mechanisms behind GRBs and other high-energy astrophysical phenomena.
Quantum Dynamics of Chemical Reactions
Supercomputing has dramatically improved our ability to understand how atoms and molecules interact and the chemical reactions that occur in different environments. Chemistry professor Balakrishnan Naduvalath is using complex theoretical calculations to explore how molecules behave at temperatures close to absolute zero and under conditions important in astrophysics.