UT-Austin gets funds to build fastest university supercomputer



The University of Texas at Austin was awarded $60 million dollars by the National Science Foundation on Wednesday morning to build the fastest supercomputer at any U.S. university.

The supercomputer, which will rank among the most powerful in the world, will be named Frontera, Spanish for “frontier.” The university hopes it will allow the nation’s academic researchers to make important discoveries in all fields of science, from astrophysics to zoology. Frontera is slated to begin operations in 2019.

“Supercomputers — like telescopes for astronomy or particle accelerators for physics — are essential research instruments that are needed to answer questions that can’t be explored in the lab or in the field,” said Dan Stanzione, executive director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center, which is overseeing the project at the university.

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The center has already built and operated three supercomputers that debuted in the top 10 most powerful systems in the world: Ranger in 2008, Stampede1 in 2012 and Stampede2 in 2017.

Frontera will be roughly twice as powerful as the supercomputer that currently claims the title of fastest university computer, Stampede2. It would take a billion years for a person performing one calculation every second to compute what Frontera will be able to process in one second.

Early projects that Frontera may tackle include global climate modeling, improved hurricane forecasting, analyses of particle collisions from the Large Hadron Collider and multi-messenger astronomy.

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