Provost Ludden asks students to name SMU’s new supercomputer

The December 2013 arrival of a new supercomputer at SMU expands the University’s high-performance computing capacity to weigh in among the top academic computers in the United States.

SMU's supercomputer, delivered in December 2013“High-performance computing is a transformative technology that impacts many fields across the intellectual landscape, including physics and finance, chemistry and computing, engineering and economics, digital art, computer gaming, biology, data science, and many more fields,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden in a letter e-mailed to students.

“We are calling for SMU students to submit recommendations for a name for SMU’s powerful new computing equipment,” Ludden wrote.

The new supercomputer was known by the name “MANA” at its previous home at the Maui High-Performance Computing Center, one of the five U.S. Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Centers, said Professor of Mathematics Thomas Hagstrom, director of SMU’s Center for Scientific Computation.

“When installed in Maui its throughput capacity was 103 teraflops, which ranked among the top 500 fastest supercomputers in the world. That is 103 trillion arithmetic operations per second,” Hagstrom said.

Joe Gargiulo, SMU chief information officer, anticipates that “the peak theoretical performance of MANA combined with SMU’s current system would exceed 120 teraflops.” MANA is being installed at SMU’s new data center.

The top 5 entries in the naming contest will each receive an iPad mini, and the winning name will be selected via e-mail vote by SMU faculty, staff and students, Ludden said. The first-place entry will be announced at the dedication of the new supercomputer, and the winning student will receive a new laptop.

The 5 finalists will be selected by an SMU panel consisting of Jim Quick, associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies; Patty Alvey, director of assessment and accreditation and Richards Creative Professor of Advertising; Rick Briesch, associate professor of marketing; Hagstrom; Jingbo Ye, professor of physics; Ramon Trespalacios, student body president; and Katherine Ladner, student body secretary.

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