New agreement leverages Texas Advanced Computing Center resources for research at UNT

Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 08:52

DENTON (UNT), Texas — To support the increasing demands of advanced computing in scientific research, the University of North Texas System and the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide access to enhanced cyberinfrastructure resources for UNT researchers.

“This new collaboration will have extraordinary long-term impacts for research at UNT,” said Mark McLellan, vice president of UNT’s Division of Research and Innovation. “It creates exciting opportunities for innovative and impactful research outcomes. Working with TACC will allow UNT’s research teams to effectively address a range of pressing global challenges.”

Designing, deploying and maintaining the advanced computing systems necessary for ever-increasing range of modern research efforts is expensive, highly specialized and time-intensive, which is why many organizations choose to employ supplemental resources outside their organization. The Texas Advanced Computing Center at UT Austin has developed some of the world’s most powerful computer resources, including Frontera, the ninth fastest supercomputer in the world.

“This partnership will give our researchers access to a broad range of computational technologies that would be difficult to provide on our own,” said Chris McCoy, chief information officer for UNT and the UNT System. “As the world increasingly moves toward cloud-based solutions, this aligns well with our emerging thoughts for providing reliable, secure and scalable computing.”

Advanced computation, digital data and associated services, broadly called cyberinfrastructure, are foundational to the success of everything from computational chemistry and biology to analytics in the social sciences. The computational environment required for these applications includes not only the supercomputers, storage, networks and facilities needed to host them, but also the expertise needed to apply computational methods to research challenges and properly interpret the results.

Under the five-year agreement, UNT faculty and students will have access to TACC’s high-performance computing systems under the same conditions as any faculty member at UT Austin. The services will provide a significant increase in high-performance computing capacity. After the initial five years, the agreement moves to a rolling three-year contract for services. Coordination of the TACC partnership with UNT will be through Julian Quintero in UNT’s Division of Research and Innovation.

“Researchers immediately will have access to about 125% of our current capacity in high-performance computing,” McLellan said. “And with research grants and additional funding, they can buy access to more of TACC’s exceptional resources to meet their needs.”

Researchers from a broad range of domains will be able to take advantage of this critical expansion of resources, opening the way for new projects that require more computing power. UNT continues to build its research capacity to grow as a Tier One research university. 

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