Tech Tuesday: UT supercomputer processing problems of the future

A new computer on The University of Texas campus can run a process in a few hours that could take a regular computer thousands of years.

AUSTIN,TX - Sitting in a large, heavily air-conditioned room in the University of Texas' J.J. Pickle Research Campus sits a $30 million processing behemoth that's enabling researchers and educators to push the boundaries. 

It's called Stampede2, a supercomputer put together by the University of Texas Advanced Computing Center with support from Dell EMC, Intel and Seagate, funded by the National Science Foundation.

As TACC Executive Director Dan Stanzione explained, it's quite the computer.

"It consists of about 6,000 individual servers, around 380,000 individual processors," he said. "We've hooked them all together, and between them, they can do 18 petaflops -- or 18 quadrillion operations per second."

For reference, that's about 20,000 times more powerful than the average laptop and it's capable of running programs that would be impossible on many computers in mere hours.

"Think of this as a big scientific instrument," Stanzione said. "Like a very big telescope or a scanning electron microscope or an MRI machine."

Stanzione said since booting up this year, the system has already processed thousands of projects and millions of data points for researchers, educators, students and more.

"To really explore the boundaries now," he said, "we have to build things that are very hard and very expensive. That's where Stampede2 comes in."

For more information on the supercomputer, check their website by clicking here.

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