Data-driven analysis boosted by new supercomputing system

UW-Eau Claire is partnering with laptop firm Hewlett Packard Enterprise in a collaboration which permits the University to buy a brand new high-performance supercomputer system.

The partnership was introduced by Chancellor James C. Schmidt at a press conference on April 26. The new supercomputing cluster system will permit college students to conduct analysis in a number of areas involving laptop science. 

UW-Eau Claire shall be one of many few primarily undergraduate establishment universities within the nation to make use of such a HPE supercomputer cluster {hardware}. 

The cash to buy the system totals over $700,000 and comes from three principal sources: Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the National Science Foundation and UW-Eau Claire’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Sudeep Bhattacharyay, affiliate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is likely one of the principal initiators and drivers of the University’s supercomputing program.

He helped receive the present supercomputing system in 2014, referred to as the Blugold Supercomputer Cluster, housed in Phillips Hall.

Bhattacharyay stated though the BGSC system works nicely, it’s time for a greater, up to date system. The new HPE supercomputing cluster will be capable to carry out computations as much as 100 instances sooner than the present BGSC system, he stated.

For Bhattacharyay and UW-Eau Claire, scholar entry and growth are a precedence. High-impact undergraduate experiences, together with analysis, are extremely vital to UW-Eau Claire, Bhattacharyay stated, and the cluster is a cost-saving means to supply these experiences.

Students have already been experiencing these high-impact experiences by way of the BGSC. Alyssa Huelsbeck, a fourth-year biochemistry, molecular biology and Spanish scholar labored with Bhattacharyay to conduct analysis on the COVID-19 virus.

Specifically, Huelsbeck studied the COVID-19 spike protein — the piece of the virus that permits it to bind to human receptor cells. Huelsbeck stated she didn’t anticipate to have the ability to use a supercomputing system, and it was a terrific alternative.

“I think the new system makes research really accessible to undergraduate students,” Huelsbeck stated. “I did really relevant and very important research to learn about the spike protein and how the virus works.”

Huelsbeck stated the analysis group has offered their findings on the National Conference for Undergraduate Research, UW-Eau Claire’s Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity and at the moment are engaged on publishing a paper of their analysis.

The new supercomputing cluster will permit “huge” alternatives for collaboration past UW-Eau Claire, Bhattacharyay stated, together with public work with the Mayo Clinic and HPE.

Bhattacharyay listed a few of the prospects for sensible utility with the Mayo Clinic, together with analysis on bioinformatics, laptop aided drug design and understanding and researching illness, amongst many others.

“The Mayo Clinic wants to see this computer and data science applied to health care,” Bhattacharyay stated. “HPE wants to grow and develop their coding technique through us, and we want to give high-impact practices to our students.”

Chip Eckardt, senior data processing advisor at UW-Eau Claire, additionally has a hand within the supercomputing program and course of. The new system will permit college students from a number of majors and disciplines to conduct analysis, he stated, and can make the University stand out.

“Well, I’m biased of course, but I think this is going to set us above all our peers,” Eckardt stated. “It can be used for all sorts of things, even in the art department. I mean, the sky’s the limit on this stuff.”

Eckardt stated that the cluster will make UW-Eau Claire a ‘hub’ for analysis and computing energy within the Midwest and for the UW System.

“It’s going to save a lot of money, but it will also help the learning experience,” Eckardt stated. “It’s going to be just huge. This is going to set the university and education research on end.”

 DeLapp may be reached at [email protected]

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