Launched in 2000, the University of Southern California’s Center for High-Performance Computing (HPC) is a global leader in research computing.
The Center represents a vibrant, interdisciplinary partnership supported by numerous schools and departments across USC. HPC bridges USC’s unique strengths in scientific computing, computer science, and communications by supporting more than 110 research groups in a variety of disciplines, including epigenetics, geophysics, materials science, engineering, natural language translation, and health sciences.
The display technology of the USC Center for Data Visualization and Collaboration complements HPC’s compute environment, empowering researchers through the enhanced perspective of large-scale supercomputing simulations.
Among supercomputers in an academic setting in fall 2017, HPC’s supercomputer cluster ranked as the 12th fastest in the United States and the 435th-fastest supercomputer in the world. It claimed these distinctions by achieving a benchmark of 621.5 teraflops, or 621.5 trillion floating-point calculations per second, on its 280 dual-GPU, low-latency, 56.6-gigabit backbone cluster.
This new supercomputer incorporates graphics processing units or GPUs. This technology greatly enhances the speed with which computer systems process information and represents an important development in supercomputing. Nationally, GPU-accelerated supercomputers have enabled new research projects in areas as diverse as bioinformatics, climatology, and molecular and materials modeling.
HPC resources enable researchers to move beyond the limitations of traditional research to produce new understandings of problems and meaningful results that have a far-reaching interdisciplinary impact. Part of the focus of HPC is to expand the reach of “big computing” by addressing system-level questions in social, economic, and cultural research. With its advanced computing and communications resources, HPC is helping to create the virtual organizations, virtual worlds, and immersive environments that will continue to transform and globalize higher education in the twenty-first century.