From TACC: “National Science Foundation Awards $110 Million for XSEDE 2.0 Program”

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Texas Advanced Computing Center

Today, the National Science Foundation announced a $110 million, five-year award to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and 18 partner institutions, including the Texas Advanced Computing Center at The University of Texas at Austin, to continue and expand the activities undertaken through the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, a cornerstone of the nation’s cyberinfrastructure ecosystem.


XSEDE accelerates open scientific discovery by enhancing the productivity and capability of researchers, engineers, and scholars, and broadening their participation in science and engineering. It does so by making advanced computational resources easier to use, integrating existing resources into new, powerful services, and building the community of users and providers.

“XSEDE 2.0 will continue to expand access to NSF-funded cyberinfrastructure resources and services available to the science and engineering community across the nation,” said Irene Qualters, division director for the Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI) at NSF. “The nation’s discovery and innovation enterprise requires a dynamic and highly interoperable ecosystem, anticipating and responding to new instruments, new computing capabilities, new research communities, and new expertise. XSEDE 2.0 is a critical human component in NSF’s advanced computing infrastructure strategy, seeking to enable the broad and deep use of computational and data-intensive research to advance knowledge in all fields of study.”

The project is a central feature of NSF-supported cyberinfrastructure and aligns with the strategic objectives of the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) – a whole-of-government effort that fosters a coordinated Federal strategy in high-performance computing (HPC) research and deployment. XSEDE 2.0 aligns with NSCI, particularly by holistically expanding the capabilities and capacity of a robust and enduring national HPC ecosystem and contributing the learning and workforce development necessary to prepare our current and future researchers and the critical technical experts needed to support the research enterprise.

“As the role of computational and data science in advancing scientific and engineering frontiers has grown, it has produced a significant increase in the demand for supporting infrastructure,” said John Towns, executive director for Science and Technology at NCSA and principal investigator for XSEDE. “The XSEDE 2.0 project recognizes that investment in physical infrastructure must be complemented by investment in software and human services.”

Cyberinfrastructure refers to the advanced instruments, computing systems, data tools, software, networks, and people that collectively improve the research productivity of the nation’s computational scientists and engineers, enabling breakthroughs not otherwise possible. Critically important to cyberinfastructure is the increasingly dynamic interplay between these resources and human developers and users. XSEDE 2.0 constitutes a virtual organization that provisions complex distributed infrastructure, support services, and technical expertise.

TACC is a key partner in the XSEDE project offering HPC resources, diverse domain and visualization experts, scalable cloud environments, data analytics, and replicated storage. Stampede, TACC’s flagship system, is the largest, most capable system for academic research in the U.S. In addition, TACC leads the XSEDE User Portal, a web interface that allows users to monitor and access XSEDE resources, manage jobs on those resources, report issues, and analyze and visualize results.

TACC also leads XSEDE’s Community Engagement and Enrichment (CEE) program, which focuses on user services and engaging a new generation of diverse computational researchers. In addition to education, training and outreach activities, CEE connects to campus research computing communities to help researchers access both local and national resources.

“XSEDE is focused on diversity and inclusion to develop the next generation of advanced digital researchers and to foster innovative collaborations for scientific discoveries,” said Kelly Gaither, TACC’s director of visualization and co-principal investigator for XSEDE. “Diversity reflects the educational, cultural, gender, and experiential makeup of our users, our students and our collaborators; inclusion reflects the quality of the experience that XSEDE provides once they are there.”

XSEDE was first established in 2011, and the award announced today provides a continuity of services valuable to its large user community, in particular the coordination of resources and people that make the national cyberinfrastructure ecosystem so effective.

Last year, XSEDE provided computational and data services to more than 6,000 scientists, engineers and students, and supported more than 20,000 users through its web portal. Over the past four years, users have acknowledged support by XSEDE and its related computational resources in roughly 14,000 publications.

Among these XSEDE-supported studies were efforts that confirmed the discovery of gravitational waves, developed high-resolution maps of the Arctic, uncovered the structure of HIV, and helped prevent injuries from car accidents.

Among its critical functions, XSEDE 2.0 will:

Manage and deliver a set of common and coordinated services for a portfolio of supercomputers and high-end visualization and data-analysis resources across the country to address increasingly diverse scientific and engineering challenges;
Manage the allocation process by which researchers access advanced computing resources, including continuing to improve and innovate this process in alignment with new research access workflows and new resources;
Build on the XSEDE tradition of outstanding user services, and engage a new generation of diverse computational researchers; in addition to education, training, and outreach activities, connect to campus HPC communities, to help researchers access both local and national resources;
Offer extended collaborative support services, which pairs XSEDE computational or software engineering experts with domain scientists to advance a project or develop a tool needed to advance research; and
Continue to improve and operate an integrated HPC capability of national scale, providing “one-stop-shop” experience for users across the XSEDE-coordinated cyberinfrastructure ecosystem.

For nearly four decades, NSF has supported the nation’s scientific community by providing nationwide access to advanced computing resources and services beyond the reach of individual academic institutions. This access has enabled transformative research in such diverse areas as particle physics, cosmology, biology, nanotechnology, ecological modeling, economics and civil engineering.

Students and researchers interested in obtaining access to advanced digital resources and support from XSEDE 2.0 can learn more and register here.

Dell Poweredge U Texas Austin Stampede Supercomputer. Texas Advanced Computer Center 9.6 PF
Dell Poweredge U Texas Austin Stampede Supercomputer. Texas Advanced Computer Center 9.6 PF

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Dell Wrangler supercomputer

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The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) designs and operates some of the world’s most powerful computing resources. The center’s mission is to enable discoveries that advance science and society through the application of advanced computing technologies.