New Super-Computer Building at CSI Moves into Design Phase

The CUNY Board of Trustees recently approved a design consultant agreement for a new Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing building at CSI.

The City University of New York (CUNY) Board of Trustees approved a design consultant agreement for a new Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing building at the College of Staten Island during its Monday, Feb. 27, 2012 meeting.

The consulting firm of Hendrickson, Durham &Richardson was selected for professional design and construction-related services as required for the 175,000 gross square foot, $210 million academic computational science research building.

The Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing building, the first new academic building constructed on the campus since it opened in 1993, will house the CUNY Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing Center (IHPCC) and serve as a University-wide resource for the computer-based modeling and simulation that are a requisite for performing advanced multidisciplinary research and the development of advanced technology systems.

The new building, a recommended cornerstone of the College of Staten Island Master Plan, was approved for implementation in 2010 and has a significant mixed-use academic and research program to help address the space needs at the College. The building will contain spaces dedicated to state-of-the art scientific computing, laboratories for visualization, computer labs with flexible design to encourage collaborative faculty and student research, and high-tech instructional laboratories. Additionally, it will also include general-purpose classrooms, dedicated student work areas, lecture halls, a café, and other programmable spaces that will promote interdisciplinary collaboration and provide needed study space and student services.

College officials anticipate that the academic departments of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Engineering Science and Physics will be relocated to the new building.

“The continued growth of the College’s undergraduate and graduate enrollment, commitment to increasing full-time faculty, and greater internationalization of the campus, offering new and expanded programs, all necessitate expansion of our facilities,” said Dr. Tomás D. Morales, President of CSI. “The addition of the Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing building will provide us with the space needed for future growth, and further galvanize the College of Staten Island’s and The City University of New York’s position at the forefront of computational research.”

Currently, the High-Performance Computational systems are housed in Building 1M on the CSI campus, and they represent “the largest academic HPC center in the New York Metropolitan Area,” according to Dr. Michael Kress, Vice President for Technology Systems at CSI and Executive Director of the IHPCC. He added that “It houses five HPC systems of varying size and architecture that allow CUNY researchers the flexibility to use the computer system and programming model that best fits their research.”

“All five systems support the most prevalent model for parallel computing—the message passing interface library model,” explained Paul Muzio, Director of the IHPC. “One of the systems, named ‘Andy’ after Dr. Andy Grove, an alumnus of CUNY’s City College, is specially configured to support research work that is very computationally intensive. Andy is optimized for many problems in computational chemistry and physics. A second system, named ‘Salk’ after Dr. Jonas Salk, also an alumnus of The City College, is best suited for applications that require ‘fine grain’ parallelism and need to handle very large data. It is very well suited for environmental studies, numerical weather prediction, ocean modeling, and climate modeling. Andy and Salk are examples of the latest technology systems currently available, and allow CSI and CUNY researchers and students to expand their computational horizons.”

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