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Marquette Wire

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Marquette Wire

National Science Foundation grants new supercomputing cluster for Marquette

Photo by Elena Feigen
A supercomputing cluster will replace the current one in the chemistry building.

Marquette University’s chemistry department received a grant of $681, 425 from the National Science Foundation to be used for the installation of a new supercomputing cluster, according to a university news release. 

The cluster is essentially a group of many ordinary computers connected together and coordinated centrally using special software, chemistry professor Scott Reid said. He added that the system will allow for advanced and memory-intensive calculations to occur.  

According to the release, the NSF grant was obtained by the efforts of the late Rajendra “Raj” Rathore, a professor of chemistry who died in February 2018. He became ill and was hospitalized in January a few days before the grant application he had nearly completed was due.

The release said Rathore enlisted Reid and Qadir Timerghazin to complete the application before he died.

Timerghazin said the supercomputing system will replace the current system on campus. 

“The Marquette IT department has been truly heroic in keeping the old cluster alive for the past year,” Timerghazin said. “Our hope (is) that it will last till we bring the new system online.”

Reid said the chemistry department will use the cluster for both research and teaching. 

The chemistry department has embedded computational chemistry-based labs across the curriculum, Reid said.

“In biomedical engineering, computational modeling facilitates the design of new devices for treating cardiovascular disease, improvements in the safety of medical imaging systems and new insights into brain function,” Reid said.

Reid said other programs of study at Marquette, such as mathematical science and civil engineering, will utilize the cluster to “study natural and anthropogenic hazards and develop pathways for sustainable urban infrastructures.”

Timerghazin, whose research area is focused on computational chemistry, said his group of students and researchers will be active users of the new cluster.

“We use computers to model chemical processes involving bio active molecules,” Timerghazin said.

Timerghazin said the new supercomputing cluster used within the undergraduate chemistry curriculum will bring the computer modeling aspect to a new level.

“It’s part of Raj’s legacy,” Timerghazin said in the release. “His passing was a huge loss for our department.”

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