National Science Foundation awards $10 million to fund new Pittsburgh supercomputer |

National Science Foundation awards $10 million to fund new Pittsburgh supercomputer

Jamie Martines
Tribune-Review file photo
Nick Nystrom, chief scientist and principal investigator for Bridges-2, stands among Bridges at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center facility in Monroeville on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017.

There’s going to be a new genome-parsing, poker-playing supercomputer in town.

The National Science Foundation awarded a $10 million grant to fund the construction of a new supercomputer at the Monroeville-based Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, a joint research facility run by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, according to a statement from the center.

The successor to Bridges, first funded at the center in 2014, Bridges-2 will be available at no cost to anyone for research and education purposes for projects that involve large, complex data sets. That could include anything from researching the human brain to exploring the universe.

Supercomputing technology also could be used to crunch data sets that help improve agricultural efficiency or exploring technologies to build smarter cities, according to a statement from the center.

“Unlocking the power of data will accelerate discovery to advance science, improve our quality of life and enhance national competitiveness,” said Nick Nystrom, chief scientist and principal investigator for Bridges-2. “We designed Bridges-2 to drive discoveries that will come from the rapid evolution of research, which increasingly needs new, scalable ways for combining large, complex data with high-performing simulation and modeling.”

About 29,000 times faster than a top-end laptop, Bridges will be operational until 2020.

In the past, Bridges has been used to study electricity usage for hundreds of buildings, help the Federal Reserve in Kansas City track the country’s finances, analyze genetic data, and sift through hundreds of thousands of books, articles and letters for historians.

It’s also been known to beat the pros at poker.

In addition to massive memory, storage and data-handling capabilities, Bridges-2 will combine artificial intelligence with data simulation and modeling.

Bridges-2 is expected to be launched in the summer of 2020.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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