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UW Named a National Computational Sciences Research Center

September 9, 2015
two men display electronic device
(from left) Dimitri Mavriplis, a UW professor of engineering, and Suresh Muknahallipatna, a UW professor of electrical and computer engineering, display a NVIDIA Tesla K40 GPU accelerator. NVIDIA recently designated UW as a NVIDIA GPU Research Center. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming has been named a GPU Research Center by NVIDIA, the world leader in visual computing. The designation, which took effect earlier this summer, makes UW one of only 50 such centers in the nation.

The new center will help the university expand its computational sciences presence and gain additional federal funding to build on the capabilities of the newly formed Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) Group within the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Advanced Research Computing Center, which houses and manages campuswide high-performance computing hardware, such as the Mount Moran cluster.

NVIDIA GPU Research Centers are institutions that embrace and use GPU (graphics processing unit) technologies across multiple research fields, and are at the forefront of some of the world’s most innovative scientific research. GPU computing leverages the parallel processing capabilities of GPU accelerators and enabling software to deliver dramatic increases in performance for scientific, artificial intelligence, deep learning, graphics, engineering and other demanding applications.

“We’re writing a proposal to the National Science Foundation to upgrade Mount Moran,” says Suresh Muknahallipatna, a professor in UW’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who also is a member of the CSE Group and a principal investigator (PI) of the center. “This (designation) will help us.”

“We’ll receive support from NVIDIA for our important and leading-edge research,” says Dimitri Mavriplis, a UW professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, who also directs the CSE Group and is another PI of the center. “The product of our research can help demonstrate the benefits of their technologies.”

As a GPU Research Center, UW will have pre-release access to NVIDIA GPU hardware and software; the opportunity to attend exclusive events with key researchers and academics; assistance from a NVIDIA technical support liaison; and access to specialized online and in-person training sessions.

Of the NVIDIA designation, Mavriplis adds, “It gives us critical mass in our computational research program at UW rather than just operating as individual researchers.”

Jeff Clune, a UW assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, and Richard Loft, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Technology Development Division, are the GPU Research Center’s other PIs.

The CSE Group at UW promotes collaborations among UW research groups with interests in computational methods; provides common resources to member faculty, students and staff to facilitate such collaborations; and enables larger multidisciplinary projects.

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