LCSN: Officials unveil supercomputer access at NMSU

January 26, 2010. Retrieved online: January 27, 2010 from Diana M. Alba, Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES – The average Joe will now have access to a huge, super-fast computer, part of which is based at New Mexico State University.

State officials announced Monday the university is one of eight “gateway” sites that will give access to the state’s supercomputer, being billed as the first-ever such device that’s accessible to the public. Most supercomputers belong to private laboratories and companies.

State officials said it’s got potential applications in the film industry, energy industry, research and student education.

The computer, most of which is housed in Rio Rancho, N.M., performs 172 trillion calculations per second.

The device is able to answer complex questions and carry out intricate modeling much faster than most computers, said Shaun Cooper, NMSU chief information officer.

“Instead of waiting 1,000 days to get it, you get it in a couple of days,” he said.

Businesses will have to pay to use the computing power, Cooper said, but there won’t be a cost to members of the public who want access.

Cooper said the device also allows a much finer resolution of data. For instance, he said, researchers trying to model a chemical reaction might be able to zoom in to the individual particle level to see the results.

The gateway, located in an NMSU computer lab, consists of two 65-inch TVs with three-dimensional capabilities, three video cameras, microphones and 3-D goggles.

Read the article.

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