BUFFALO, N.Y. -- As it passes its 10th year in operation, the
University at Buffalo's Center for Computational Research has
plenty to celebrate: in the past 12 months, it has received more
than $11 million in new funding, including two major competitive
federal grants for advancing computational science and a New York
State grant to make supercomputing more environmentally
The new grants further enhance CCR's reputation as a leading
academic supercomputing center.
"In terms of external grants, our 10th year has been our best,"
says Thomas R. Furlani, PhD, director of CCR at UB's New York State
Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and
principal investigator on many of the new grants.
The new funds will support powerful, energy-efficient processors
dedicated to advanced computational research at UB that will at a
minimum, quadruple the center's computational power and storage
The grants will directly create at least four new full-time jobs
at the center, plus additional, paid opportunities for graduate and
undergraduate students at UB.
"Indeed, this summer six undergraduates and two graduate
students are working at CCR on a diverse range of research
projects," says Furlani, who is also interim associate vice
president for information technology (CIO) at UB.
"Just as importantly, the substantial expansion of the center's
computing and storage capacity will allow UB scientists to carry
out more complex and challenging studies, leading to scientific
advances, and additional funded research and employment
opportunities for support staff, postdoctoral researchers and
students," he says.
New York State businesses will be able to access CCR's powerful,
new supercomputers through the center's participation in HPC" (http://hpc2.org/), the statewide
supercomputing consortium funded by the New York State Foundation
for Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) and
consisting of supercomputing centers at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute, Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory,
UB and Internet pioneer NYSERNet.
CCR's new awards include:
• A high-profile, five-year $7.75 million National Science
Foundation grant to develop an active set of software tools and
services to monitor the advanced cyber infrastructure of the
National Science Foundation-funded TeraGrid, the world's largest
distributed computing infrastructure for open, scientific
• A $2.5 million high-end instrumentation grant from the
National Institutes of Health, funded by the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act to install new computing infrastructure to advance
biomedical research. Scientists from UB, Roswell Park Cancer
Institute and the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute
participated as co-investigators on the grant.
• A total of $1.2 million in grants from the New York State
Energy Research and Development Authority that will allow CCR to
reduce power consumption by 30 percent, cutting approximately
$150,000 per year in energy costs from its budget, while
simultaneously doubling CCR's compute capacity.
The $2.5 million NIH grant provides high-performance computing
and storage infrastructure for research addressing such broad-range
biomedical problems as studying the pathogens that cause
potentially fatal MRSA infections, understanding how deadly brain
aneurysms form and improving methods of cancer prevention and early
The award will allow researchers from UB and its partners at
RPCI and HWI to collaborate on these and other critical biomedical
Furlani notes that while it's been only three years since CCR
moved from the UB North Campus to UB's Center of Excellence in
downtown Buffalo, the center already is a major factor in the
ability of scientists on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to
obtain federal funding. In 2009, well over $30 million in funding
was awarded to UB faculty utilizing CCR resources.
"The past decade has witnessed a revolution in the application
of information technology to scientific research and this new
supercomputing equipment allows UB's researchers to compete on a
level playing field with some of the nation's most elite research
institutions," he says. "The new computing equipment will greatly
expand our research capability, but more important to our success
is the high quality and broad experience of CCR's support staff and
expertise of UB's scientists and engineers, without whom these
awards would not have been possible," adds Furlani.
The center's $7.75 million NSF TeraGrid award will have a
national impact. The TeraGrid, which supports more than 4,000 users
at more than 200 universities, allows scientists from all over the
U.S. to carry out advanced research in fields such as chemistry,
physics, molecular biology, meteorology, materials research,
climate change and alternative energy research.
"The TeraGrid is a critical national resource," says Furlani,
"and this high-profile award to CCR will allow us to develop
software tools that will ensure that a system as important and
complex as the TeraGrid continues to operate efficiently and
effectively in order to maximize the positive impact of the
infrastructure investment on science and engineering research in
In addition to Furlani, CCR staff members with a prominent role
in the project include Matthew Jones, PhD, CCR associate director
and co-investigator on the grant; Steve Gallo, lead software
engineer; and Andrew Bruno, senior programmer analyst.
Furlani adds that, thanks to NYSERDA's grants to CCR, the center
also will cut energy use while boosting computing capacity by more
than 125 percent. The new NYSERDA awards build on the success of
previous awards by the agency to CCR that helped the center
purchase new, energy-efficient supercomputers. Details on the
center's energy savings and reduction in CO2 emissions can be found
CCR's pioneering efforts into green supercomputing recently were
recognized by NYSERDA when it awarded UB its first annual New York
State Data Center Energy Efficiency Leadership Award, recognizing
leadership in pursuing policies and projects that promote data
center energy efficiency in New York State. Furlani and Salvatore
Guercio, CCR lead system administrator, went to New York City to
receive the award last month.
The Center for Computational Research
(http://www.ccr.buffalo.edu), a leading academic
supercomputing facility, maintains a high-performance computing
environment, high-end visualization laboratories and support staff
with expertise in all areas of computing, including scientific and
parallel computing, high-capacity data storage, custom software
development, advanced database engineering, grid computing,
scientific visualization and networking. CCR currently has more
than 13 Tflops of aggregate compute capacity, dedicated solely to
support faculty-led research projects at UB, and will soon undergo
a major expansion to 50-70 Tflops of compute capacity and 600
Tbytes of high-performance storage capacity.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.