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July 29, 2010

Vanderbilt HPC Center to Add GPU Cluster

Nicole Hemsoth

The Stimulus money is still stimulating. The NSF is using $390,000 from an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to help fund a new GPU-based computing cluster at Vanderbilt University’s Advanced Computing Center for Research & Education (ACCRE). According to Alan Tackett, ACCRE’s technical director, this is a new type of technology for the center, but has the potential to accelerate a range of scientific research going on at Vanderbilt. Lining up to use the new GPU capability are:

  • Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Kelly Holley-Bockelmann to produce more accurate simulations of the process by which star-sized black holes merge to form the supermassive black holes that sit at the center of many galaxies.


  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jens Meiler, who has developed a “machine learning” method for predicting the biological activity of novel chemicals with the potential for speeding the drug discovery process, to predict the biological activity of novel chemicals 100 times faster.


  • Associate Professor of Psychology Thomas Palmeri and Assistant Professor of Psychology Sean Polyn to develop and test simulations of how the brain learns, remembers and decides in unprecedented detail.


  • Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Greg Walker, who is studying the way that carbon nanotubes conduct heat, to simulate this process in enough detail to predict the thermal properties of nanomaterials being developed for military, aerospace and energy applications with greater accuracy.

Since the GPU cluster necessitates porting some of the code to the new architecture, Vanderbilt has also awarded $138,000 to help pay for the reprogramming effort.

Full story at Vanderbilt News

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