The NIU Center for Research Computing and Data has its roots in one of the largest scientific projects ever undertaken at NIU. The proton Computed Tomography (pCT) project aimed at developing a new medical imaging method. It required large amounts of computing power, utilizing emerging GP-GPU technology. The Department of Defense provided a grant for the purchase of the computational resources. Augmented with the Department of Energy funds, the Gaea hybrid compute cluster was commissioned. At the conclusion of the pCT award period, Gaea was opened to the campus community and the Center was established. Currently, Gaea functions as the main resource available to CRCD users.
Since 2014, CRCD supported over 78 scholarly and research projects. A sample of them is available here. Users cover the whole NIU community from five colleges, ranging from physics to geography and from engineering to history. Gaea is being used for large scale high-fidelity simulations of complex systems, text mining, data analysis and visualization, molecular dynamics, genomics, weather, and climate modeling and many other types of workloads. An overview of current and recent Gaea use can be found here.
Today, in addition to providing HPC resources, CRCD also aims to serve as a team of experts to broadly support the diverse research computing and data needs on campus. The University is committed to sustain and grow research computational efforts in the near future.
If you are an NIU researcher or an external collaborator contemplating or anticipating large-scale computational resource use in your research, please start here.