IU Dedicates New Supercomputer

Big Red II is 25 times faster than Indiana University's last supercomputer called Big Red.

Indiana University dedicated one of the nation’s fastest computers Friday.

Big Red II is what’s called a supercomputer. It is 25 times faster than its predecessor Big Red and has the ability to complete computations that would take an average computer about 200 days in eight days.

IU Vice president for IT Brad Wheeler says the computer will be a big boost to research.

“Big Red II is a benefit to all our researchers, that may seem surprising at first, even folks who are in the digital humanities, or ethnomusicology, or people who study ancient text will be able to use this,” he says.

University officials say researchers will likely come from around the U.S. to use Big Red II’s capabilities. Associate chemistry professor Mu-Hyun Biak says Big Red II could be used to complete complicated calculations that were impossible before.

“We study catalysts, so these are small molecules that can carry out reactions at low temperatures, low pressure of reactions that usually would not happen,” he says. “And of particular interest is trying to understand artificial photosynthesis, which is the conversion of water, carbon dioxide, and solar energy into fuel. So that’s what we’re trying to understand and that should design new catalysts that can do this better,”

These types of computers usually last four to five years.

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