In Summer 2010, MSI made available to its users its newest supercomputer, named Itasca, and Itasca is already making a world of difference to researchers at the university.
Charles Campbell, a University of Minnesota physics and astronomy professor uses MSI to study layered quantum magnets. He says of Itasca, "Our research has benefitted tremendously from being able to use Itasca. Some of our calculations are so intensive that they are simply impracticable without it.”
Brian Ropers-Huilman, Assistant Director for HPC Operations at MSI explains why Itasca has been so successful: "With four times as many cores and better memory bandwidth than anything we were able to offer before, the time it takes for us to earn a solution is considerably less. Time to solution is what our users care about most.”
Chris Cramer, a chemistry professor, couldn’t agree more about the benefits of Itasca: "Itasca added a stunning amount of capacity to MSI's already quite good facilities. As a result, our wait times for initiating jobs are negligible and our productivity has increased several-fold.”
In addition to providing increased productivity, Itasca is allowing users to test code in order to prepare for even more intensive work to be done at national supercomputing centers. Alexander Heger (associate professor of physics) and his graduate student Ken Chen are two of those users. Said Chen, "Itasca has helped us define what simulations we want to run at the National Energy Research Computing Center.”
In a short amount of time, Itasca has already helped the University of Minnesota in its goals to become a top research university. By allowing researchers to perform complex modeling and run intensive simulations more efficiently than ever before, the University of Minnesota is on the forefront of discovery. Campbell again, "Itasca is ideally suited to the nature of our work. Our results are now clearly setting the benchmarks in our field.”