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IU plays key role in two new national supercomputing systems

Partnerships with new Texas and San Diego systems will bring resources and jobs to Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University will provide crucial services for two powerful new supercomputing systems recently funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), bringing jobs and resources to the state.

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin and its partners will design, build and deploy Wrangler, a data analysis and management system for the national open science community, a group whose mission is to make research and data available to all. Wrangler is supported by a $6 million NSF grant and is scheduled for production in January 2015. Indiana University will provide data access reliability and security for Wrangler by replicating its 10 petabyte disk storage system in the IU Data Center. (For more information about Wrangler, see:

The NSF has also awarded $12 million to the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California to deploy Comet, the world’s first virtualized high performance computing cluster. By incorporating technology currently used by commercial cloud computing providers, Comet will benefit wide-ranging researchers who need quick turnaround on medium-sized computing jobs. IU’s Geoffrey Fox, distinguished professor of computer science and informatics and principal investigator of the NSF’s FutureGrid project, is a strategic partner for the Comet project. Fox is a leader in the use of virtual systems in supercomputing, and the Comet project makes use of FutureGrid's expertise here. (For more information about Comet, see:

"I am delighted for IU to partner closely with Texas and San Diego to create essential tools for truly massive data," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for IT and chief information officer. "The advanced skills of our research technology staff and critical infrastructure like the IU Data Center and Big Red II enable us to be a partner of choice in these large national projects, and that brings resources and jobs to Indiana."

"The Wrangler and Comet systems will vastly improve US research capabilities, and Indiana University is pleased to participate in these important initiatives," said Craig Stewart, Wrangler co-PI and executive director of the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University. "For Wrangler, the state-of-the-art IU Data Center will act as a national and international waypoint for data movement and also store data sets used in citizen science projects."

Defined as research collaborations between scientists and volunteers to solve real-world problems, citizen science is a powerful way to make sense of vast amounts of data. IU will run a mirror copy of the data on Zooniverse, a citizen science web portal, to simplify data analysis.  

About his role in the new systems, Fox said, "Virtual clusters, software defined systems and cloud software platforms will change future approaches to computing. I am pleased that FutureGrid's innovative work is valuable here."