(Host) The University of Vermont has a new high-performance computer that officials say will allow scientists to conduct cutting-edge research.
The computer actually uses a cluster of processors to perform computations at astonishing speed. How fast? The machine has a speed of 7.1 teraflops - that’s the equivalent of seven trillion calculations per second.
Domenico Grasso is UVM’s dean of the college of engineering and mathematical science. He says researchers in a variety of fields will use the machine.
(Grasso) "I think what it is, is not just an investment in infrastructure but an investment in capabilities. And these capabilities are going to enable us to attract the best faculty in the world and they’re going to attract great students, and they’re going to give a great education, and that in turn is going to attract investments and collaborations from a variety of different sources.."
(Host) Mathematician Chris Danforth plans to reserve time on the computer for his research into complex weather systems. The work should ultimately lead to better forecasts during hurricane season.
(Danforth) "This is a research computer, it’s a research facility, so it’s not doing operational forecast like the hurricane center is. But we’re developing methodologies that will improve forecasts made by the hurricane center and by the national center for environmental prediction."
(Host) Danforth said the computer was a big factor in his decision to move to UVM from the University of Maryland.
(Danforth) "There are not many small research institutions with a computer of this size that allows me to do the work that I enjoy doing… You’re able to get answers a lot faster when you have a thousand processors moving forward at one given time. So this was definitely one of the reasons why I came here."
(Host) The computer has been upgraded in stages; the most recent upgrade led to a 250 percent increase in performance.
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy helped UVM get the machine on line in 2005 with a $2.5 million dollar appropriation. The senator recently obtained an additional $1.7 million to fund further improvements to the system.