Princeton U. to Build New HPC Data Center

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Princeton University will build a new data center to house its high performance computing operations, the university said last week. The new High-Performance Research Computing Center facility will be a two-story, 40,000 square foot facility located on the university’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J.,

The facility will be the home of the university’s supercomputer, TIGRESS – the Terascale Infrastructure for Groundbreaking Research in Engineering and Science Center. It also will also enable greater research collaboration between the university and the neighboring Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) and Princeton Plasma Physics lab. The GFDL is part of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and develops sophisticated prediction models for the path of hurricanes. The Princeton Plasma Physics Lab is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and managed by the University, and conducts fusion energy research.

The facility is scheduled to be operational in 2011, and plans allow for future expansion through a second phase of construction that could double the square footage.

“Princeton’s research computing program is growing rapidly and across many disciplines, including astrophysical modeling of the universe, galaxy formation and star implosions; geophysical modeling of the propagation of seismological waves; chemical modeling of molecular dynamics; high-energy physical modeling of subatomic particle collisions and plasma and materials modeling to render fusion a practical source of clean energy; and biochemical, biostatistical and biomathematical modeling to design new drugs and to map genes and protein function,” said Curt Hillegas, director of TIGRESS.

“This growth accompanies the emergence of computation as a third mode of research in science and engineering, along with pure (analytic) theory and experiment/observation,” Hillegas said. “The required computational infrastructure to support the increased demand has outgrown the currently available data center resources on campus. This new high-performance research computing center will enable our continued leadership at the forefront of research in these areas, engaged in finding solutions of service to society.”

The University is working with San Francisco-based Gensler on architecture; AKF Group of Boston on engineering; and New York City-based CS Technology on project management.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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