Tulane has one of the world’s fastest computers

December 15, 2014 11:00 AM

New Wave staff

Cypress supercomputer

The high-performance supercomputer Cypress at Tulane University is on a list of the top 500, enhancing the university’s research infrastructure and expanding research capacity. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)

“This system allows users to move seamlessly between big data analytics and traditional high-performance computing capabilities, enabling research.”

Charlie McMahon, chief technology officer

The analysis of big data is critical to most research disciplines, with important applications in fields such as genomics, meteorology, remote sensing, molecular modeling, artificial intelligence, digital media, robotics and more. Tulane University was ranked recently 271 of the top 500 supercomputer sites in the world.  

A new supercomputer that went online this fall semester, called Cypress, “brings to us a whole new level of infrastructure that will make our current faculty members want to stay here, and it will also help us attract new faculty members,” said Nicholas Altiero, dean of the Tulane School of Science and Engineering. 

At Tulane, Cypress will be used for sea-level rise calculations, brain injury research studies and other complex, data-heavy projects that need hefty computational power. 

Charlie McMahon, vice president for information technology and chief technology officer, said the design of Cypress is similar to more powerful machines that are deployed at the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative and the Texas Advanced Computing Center, making it easy for Tulane researchers to port their code to larger environments as their models grow larger and more complex.

Cypress puts Tulane in the elite group of universities in the United States that have high-performance computers on the Top500 list, including the University of Texas–Austin, Louisiana State University, Clemson University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of San Diego and Indiana University. McMahon said Cypress is comparable in speed to high-performance computers such as Carter at Purdue University. 

“This system allows users to move seamlessly between big data analytics and traditional high-performance computing capabilities, enabling research,” McMahon said. “We hope to demonstrate to the university that by using this supercomputing capability, our researchers are able to tackle bigger and more complex problems, to publish more papers and win more research grants,” McMahon said.

Dell produced a video talking about Cypress, big data, supercomputers and the importance of high performance computation at Tulane.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu