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May 16, 2019

NSF grant gives UVM's supercomputer a warp-speed upgrade

Research by University of Vermont psychiatry professor Hugh Garavan uses brain scans like the ones pictured here to determine the impact of drugs and alcohol on brain development in youth. The National Science Foundation-funded upgrade to the Vermont Advanced Computing Core will greatly facilitate this work.

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the University of Vermont (UVM) a $1 million grant to significantly upgrade its Vermont Advanced Computing Core, or VACC.

The upgrade will include the addition of 72 high performance graphics processing units to the current VACC, which is housed in UVM's primary datacenter in South Burlington, to create a new high performance cluster.

Working together in a "massively parallel" system, the new cluster -- dubbed DeepGreen -- will be up to 3,000 times faster than the current VACC. At its peak, DeepGreen will be able to achieve a speed of over 1 petaflop, or one thousand million million computations per second, the equivalent of 20,000 laptop computers working in tandem. The massive upgrade will give UVM faculty access to one of the fastest supercomputers in New England and one of the 100 fastest academic supercomputers in the country.

The increase in processing speed, combined with a "big pipe," a hyper-fast connection the university will install from campus to the VACC, will enable faculty to take on new types of research projects they did not have the computational power to explore in the past, said Adrian Del Maestro, UVM associate professor of physics and the lead researcher on the NSF grant.

Read more about the new award in the UVM news story $1 Million NSF Grant to Give UVM's Supercomputer a Warp-Speed Upgrade. (Date image taken: Sept. 13, 2018; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: May 17, 2019)

Credit: Philip Spechler, University of Vermont

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