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IU’s new Data Capacitor II and supercomputer Big Red II join forces to speed discovery

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.@#8212; Unlocking the genetic secrets of Alzheimer’s disease, predicting the impact of hurricanes and discovering the origins of the universe@#8212;these are just a few of the ways Indiana University researchers use supercomputers and massive data analysis systems to understand and change the world.

Their work received a major boost with today’s announcement of a significant data storage upgrade. IU will replace its current Data Capacitor with Data Capacitor II, a high-speed, high-capacity storage facility for very large data sets. With five petabytes of storage, Data Capacitor II will support big data applications used in computational research. That much data, written on DVDs, would make a stack more than three quarters of a mile high.

This announcement comes on the heels of the university’s recent acquisition of Big Red II, the fastest university-owned supercomputer in the nation. ( Read more about Big Red II.) With the addition of Data Capacitor II, Big Red II will be even more powerful.

  • McRobbie, Michael
  • Michael McRobbie

“The ability to process and analyze massive data sets has become vital to the success of many fields of research, from the huge genomic sets required by the life sciences disciplines to gigapixel astronomical images,” said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. “This significant expansion of our data storage and supercomputing facilities will enable IU to remain a university computing leader and allow the university to continue to compete at the highest levels for federal research grants, which are of central importance to our research mission.”

IU is at the forefront of big data research in a range of fields (such as physics, astronomy and biomedicine) that generate large and complex data sets. In fact, IU received $533 million in grants and awards in fiscal year 2012 – the second-highest annual total ever for the university. Big Red II and Data Capacitor II will support this work and accelerate scientific findings.

“Data Capacitor II will be able to move large data sets quickly and easily,” said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and CIO. “This will facilitate collaboration with scientists at other institutions in ways that would have been essentially impossible in the past. More collaboration means the potential for significant discoveries in any number of fields.”

IU partnered with DataDirect Networks (DDN) to develop Data Capacitor II. Big Red II and the DDN infrastructure will be installed in the IU Data Center in spring 2013.

“Indiana University is quickly becoming a global leader in the world of high performance computing, and DDN is proud be a strategic partner to IU during this exciting time,” said Alex Bouzari, CEO and cofounder of DDN. “As high performance computing opens doors to understanding everything from the workings of the most dangerous diseases to the mysteries of space and time, IU promises to be at the forefront of extraordinary research efforts, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the university’s excellent HPC team.”