In the true spirit of the computer age, Rensselaer celebrated the grand opening of the world’s most powerful university-based supercomputer with a “virtual” ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 7.
The “physical” celebration, which was held in the Darrin Communications Center, began with a presidential colloquy involving five of the country’s foremost leaders in science, technology, and innovation. The colloquy was followed by a “virtual” grand opening via video link to the Rensselaer Technology Park, where the primary elements of the supercomputer are housed.
The Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI), the result of a $100 million partnership involving Rensselaer, IBM, and New York state, was recently ranked seventh in the world, and it is the most powerful of any system based exclusively at a university, according to the 29th edition of the closely watched Top500 list.
The colloquy, titled “The Future of Computationally Enabled Discovery and Innovation,” included the Honorable John H. Marburger III, Science Adviser to the President, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; the Honorable Arden L. Bement Jr., director of the National Science Foundation; John E. Kelly III ’78, senior vice president and director of research, IBM Corporation; and Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering. The colloquy was led by President Jackson.
“This new supercomputing center will provide unprecedented opportunities for the Rensselaer community, the Capital Region, the United States, and indeed the entire world,” said President Jackson. “It is an extraordinary example of collaboration among academia, industry, and government to advance discovery and innovation.
“The supercomputer is yet another example of the positive synergy that is created when government, higher education, and the private sector work together,” said New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. “In addition to developing innovative, cutting-edge technology, the CCNI will attract advanced technology companies of all sizes while continuing our efforts to create economic opportunities in New York state.”
“High-performance computing is playing a growing role in our nation’s competitiveness,” said Kelly. “The Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations will provide the leadership supercomputing resources required to compete in the global marketplace. CCNI also stands as stellar example of university, government and industry partnership that should serve as a model for delivering supercomputing resources to other regions of the nation and the world. RPI is the ideal technological university to begin this next wave of innovation.”
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