After initial tests this fall, Georgia State is poised to blow the computing doors off sibling universities thanks to its newly installed IBM supercomputer.
As if the new number-busting machine's power wasn't enough, Georgia State is hooked into a network of supercomputers being assembled throughout the South that stands to quadruple the computing power available to researchers here.
"We're not starting at ground zero. We're going directly to the coolest thing in supercomputing. We're not making baby steps; we're making bold leaps," says Art Vandenberg, director of advanced campus services.
Equipped with the power of more than 1,000 desktop computers, Georgia State's new machine has the power to model distant solar systems, conduct financial forecasts and simulate molecular processes used in drug manufacturing.
The computing power available will get something akin to a turbo boost because of the university's participation in the Southeastern Universities Research Association, which is networking supercomputers at 24 colleges in 15 states in a network known as SURAgrid.
The grid will allow scientists to run simulations in a week that previously might have taken a month. At its peak, the network will be able to perform 10 trillion calculations per second, which would take a person with a calculator about 8 million years to match.
The equipment for the grid is being provided by IBM, which sold the processors, wires and other pieces to each college at deeply discounted prices. Georgia State paid $585,000 for a computer that would have otherwise cost more than $2 million.
Vandenberg said Georgia State's supercomputer will be ready for researchers by early January.