Louisiana State University is about to put its third-generation supercomputer into widespread use next month.
Officials say that opens up possibilities of medical breakthroughs and scientific discoveries—while potentially bringing in millions of dollars in federal research grants to the university.
SuperMike II has the capacity of 440 desktop computers, with the capability of running 7,000 different programs simultaneously.
The $2.6 million machine, built by Dell Inc., is housed in a specially customized, climate controlled room in the back of LSU’s Frey Computing Center.
Standing just outside the room, LSU’s IT communications and planning officer, Sheri Thompson, points to a folded metal gate hanging from the ceiling and designed to unfurl itself in case of an emergency.
SuperMike II’s fire suppressant room is designed to seal itself off automatically in case of a fire while oxygen is sucked from the immediate vicinity, she explains.
(Next page: More about the supercomputer, its capabilities—and what impact it will have on the university)