$5M expansion of Holyoke computer center planned by universities

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HOLYOKE — The research universities that built the Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center in Holyoke a decade ago announced a $5 million expansion to its computing capacity on Thursday.

“Several thousand” new computer servers are planned for the 9,000 square foot facility on Bigelow Street between Cabot and Appleton streets, according to a press release. The center opened in 2012 at a cost of $165 million. A partner, Harvard University, completed a $1.6 million expansion of the center’s computing power in 2016.

On Thursday, the center’s management promised to employ local electrical and mechanical contractors and develop the next generation workforce that can support future computational research operations.

The designers intended the center to be expandable. This expansion will take place inside the building and will not require an addition to the building.

The center said it hosts millions of virtual experiments every month, supporting tens of thousands of researchers around the world.

The new computing capacity is almost entirely powered by non-fossil energy sources, according to the press release. This includes 67 megawatts of local hydroelectric and solar generation operated by Holyoke Gas and Electric.

The center was the first academic research data center to achieve LEED Platinum certified.

“Researchers are leveraging the computing power of MGHPCC to study star formation, improve medical imaging, study ecosystem dynamics in coastal New England waters, and model global risks of accelerating change change, among many other impactful projects,” said Maria, MIT’s vice president for research. T. Zuber, MGHPCC Board Member.

“The expansion of the MGHPCC’s computing capacity responds to a growing demand while taking into account the imperative to carry out this energy-intensive research with minimal environmental impact.”

Scientists are also using the computer system to understand how drugs can interrupt COVID-19 at the neural level, or create artificial neural networks that speed up — from hours to 1 minutes — the calculations needed. predict earthquakes.

The IT infrastructure added through the expansion is almost entirely powered by non-fossil energy sources, according to the release. This includes approximately 67 megawatts of local hydro and solar generation operated by Holyoke Gas & Electric.

“Researchers are leveraging the computing power of MGHPCC to study star formation, improve medical imaging, study ecosystem dynamics in coastal New England waters, and model global risks of accelerating change change, among many other impactful projects,” said Maria, MIT’s vice president for research. T. Zuber, MGHPCC Board Member.

“The expansion of the MGHPCC’s computing capacity responds to a growing demand while taking into account the imperative to carry out this energy-intensive research with minimal environmental impact.”

According to the statement, experimentation and analysis of computerized data “in silico” have become powerful tools for knowledge discovery. These tools take their place alongside theory, physical experimentation and observation.

“That so much science is now computationally intensive is a testament to the vision of our founding institutions and our public and private partners who came together to create the MGHPCC over a decade ago,” said John Goodhue. , Executive Director of MGHPCC. “Their vision also correctly predicted that the research enabled by the MGHPCC would become fundamental to the state’s innovation-based economy. The expansion helps to maintain this position of strength and will allow us to further broaden our horizons.

The Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center was developed through a collaboration between Boston University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts, public and private industry, including Cisco and Dell EMC. The universities fund the ongoing operation of the data center, which is open to any research organization.

(This is a developing story.)

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