MGHPCC expands facility with $5 million investment

HOLYOKE, Mass., September 12, 2022 – Reflecting the ever-increasing demand for computing power that has become essential for academic research, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, Boston University, Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts have announced that they are investing more than $5 million to expand capacity at the Massachusetts High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The expansion includes data center capacity to support several thousand new servers in the 90,000-square-foot facility, hiring local electrical and mechanical contractors, and engaging in next-generation workforce development to support future research computing operations . The expansion is being driven by planned and sustained growth in computing research, as envisioned in the establishment of the MGHPCC in 2009.

The IT infrastructure being added through the expansion is almost entirely powered by non-fossil energy sources, including approximately 67 megawatts of local hydroelectric and solar generation operated by Holyoke Gas and Electric.

“Researchers rely on MGHPCC’s computing power to investigate how stars form, improve medical imaging, study ecosystem dynamics in New England’s coastal waters, and model the global risks of accelerating climate change, among many other impactful projects,” said MIT’s Vice President for Research, Maria. T. Zuber, member of the MGHPCC Board of Directors.

“The expansion of computing capacity at MGHPCC meets the growing demand, given the imperative to conduct this energy-intensive research with minimal environmental impact.”

Almost every branch of science and engineering today relies on high-performance computing. In silico experimentation and data analytics have become powerful tools for discovering knowledge, alongside theory, physical experimentation, and observation. Furthermore, machine learning has developed rapidly in recent years, expanding as a research area and a tool for scientific discovery and innovation. As a result, MGHPCC members are now taking advantage of expansion options that were built into the original design of the facility.

“That so much science now relies on intensive computing is a testament to the vision of our founding institutions and the public and private partners who came together to create MGHPCC more than a decade ago,” said John Goodhue, MGHPCC Executive Director. “Their vision also correctly predicted that the research enabled by MGHPCC would become fundamental to the state’s innovation-based economy. The expansion helps maintain that position of strength and will allow us to further expand our horizons.”

About the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center

The Massachusetts High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) provides state-of-the-art infrastructure for computationally intensive research that is essential in the increasingly sensor- and data-rich environments of modern science and engineering. MGHPCC hosts millions of virtual experiments every month, supporting tens of thousands of researchers worldwide. MGHPCC was developed through an unprecedented collaboration between the most research-intensive universities in Massachusetts (Boston University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts); Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and private industry (Cisco and Dell EMC). Member universities fund the ongoing operation of the data center, which is open for use by any research organization.

Source: MGHPCC

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