University of Vermont

Research at The University of Vermont

"Big Data" and the Vermont Advanced Computing Core


Supporting innovative computational research and education at the University of Vermont, the Vermont Advanced Computing Core (VACC) provides a valuable supercomputing resource and accessibility to the UVM research enterprise, attracting world-class faculty and strategic partnerships to both UVM and Vermont. Required for the wealth of emerging "big data" studies, the VACC supports diverse, multidisciplinary, and high-impact work in social media, global climate and weather prediction, health informatics, evolutionary robotics, contagion, renewable energy, and materials science, to name just a few.

UVM faculty and collaborators routinely run programs on the VACC that, taken in total each year, would need the equivalent of over 600 years — or eight human lifespans — on a standard computer. Recent UVM discoveries using the VACC include measurements of global happiness, new understanding of catastrophic power failures and grid resilience, models for U.S. hurricane prediction, studies of brain imaging and addiction, and new (quantum) knowledge of condensed matter physics.

Affectionately known by its many users as the "Bluemoon Cluster," the UVM VACC supercomputer was developed with IBM systems architecture in 2004. Since then, the facility has received three major upgrades with next-generation, IBM high performance computing (HPC) hardware in order to optimize performance and data storage while maximizing data security and energy efficiency for an increasing number of users.

VACC Director Melody Burkins, Ph.D., works closely with computing professionals from UVM Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) to invest in "green," energy-efficient hardware upgrades and use protocols that mirror those of international supercomputing centers, ensuring UVM faculty can easily collaborate with colleagues around the world.

The VACC currently supports over 240 active users across 35 disciplines and has been cited as a critical resource in faculty requests for over $160 million in competitive research funds since 2005. In addition to supporting innovative faculty, the VACC is a cornerstone of university-industry collaborations to advance state, regional, and national projects in energy, healthcare, and the environment. With the growth of "big data" research opportunities increasing almost daily, the VACC has become a unique and invaluable facility, positioning the University of Vermont well for highest-impact discovery and innovation in our digital age.

Last modified May 19 2014 03:28 PM