NSF awards $12 million to SDSC to deploy ‘Comet’ supercomputer
The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, has been awarded a $12-million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to deploy Comet, a new petascale supercomputer designed to transform advanced scientific computing by expanding access and capacity among traditional as well as non-traditional research domains. Comet will be capable of an overall peak performance of nearly two petaflops, or two quadrillion operations per second.
Supercomputers such as Comet and our data-intensive Gordon system are helping to fulfill the NSF’s goal to extend the impact of advanced computational resources to a larger and more diversified user base,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Our San Diego Supercomputer Center is a key resource for our university system and has had a long track-record of leadership in high-performance computers and data-intensive computing.”
While science domains such as physics, astronomy, and the earth sciences have long relied on at-scale high-performance computing (HPC) to help them create detailed simulations to accelerate discovery, there is a growing need for computing capacity for a broader set of researchers, including those in non-traditional domains such as genomics, the social sciences, and economics.
Computing for the 99 Percent
“Comet is designed to be part of an emerging cyberinfrastructure for what is called the ‘long tail’ of science, which encompasses the idea that a large number of modest-sized computationally based research projects still represents, in aggregate, a tremendous amount of research and scientific impact,” said Sandra A. Brown, Vice Chancellor for Research at UC San Diego.
“Comet is all about computing for the 99 percent,” said SDSC Director Michael Norman, the project’s principal investigator. “As the world’s first virtualized HPC cluster, it is designed to deliver a significantly increased level of computing capacity and customizability to support data-enabled science and engineering at the campus, regional, and national levels, and in turn support the entire science and engineering enterprise, including education as well as research.”