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Can You Imagine: Helping Research Reach New Heights with AI?

NCSA’s Volodymyr Kindratenko’s research rests at the confluence of some of the most cutting-edge areas of computer science in recent memory. Through his work with NCSA’s Computing and Data Sciences group, Kindratenko helps researchers refine the tools and applications that they use to make discoveries and gain insights with high-performance computing.

Whether it be with Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) like those in our Blue Waters supercomputer, or Field-programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), Kindratenko’s research has focused on pushing the limits of computational research, allowing high-performance computing architectures to be optimized to tackle unique and intensive challenges with great efficiency.

“Over the years, I have been able to contribute to the research of many of my colleagues, helping them to advance their state-of-the-art research by using experimental innovative specialized systems,” said Kindratenko. “From computational chemistry to chromodynamics in physics and even cosmology, we have worked to advance research using GPUs and novel algorithms.”

Now, Kindratenko’s work has taken him into one of the most rapidly-expanding realms of computer science: artificial intelligence (AI). Previously, artificial intelligence research has been limited by the capabilities of traditional computing systems, but new work from Kindtratenko and his team seeks to run AI applications at scale on high-performance computing systems, opening doors for potentials in machine learning at scales that were previously impossible.

“AI research is undergoing a major expansion due to the latest developments in complex, data-driven deep neural network training algorithms and high-performing computer systems tailored towards running these algorithms very efficiently. At NCSA, we are building a new computer system to run such algorithms at scale,” said Kindratenko. “This system is funded by the NSF MRI program and is developed in collaboration with IBM and NVIDIA. Our objective is to bring to the UIUC campus a unique resource that will enable domain scientists to focus on their science problems rather than spend time optimizing their code and waiting for lengthy computations. This unique resource will significantly accelerate the AI research on campus.”


The Blue Waters petascale supercomputer is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, and is the fastest sustained supercomputer on a university campus. Blue Waters uses hundreds of thousands of computational cores to achieve peak performance of more than 13 quadrillion calculations per second. Blue Waters has more memory and faster data storage than any other open system in the world. Scientists and engineers across the country use the computing and data power of Blue Waters to tackle a wide range of challenges. Recent advances that were not possible without these resources include computationally designing the first set of antibody prototypes to detect the Ebola virus, simulating the HIV capsid, visualizing the formation of the first galaxies and exploding stars, and understanding how the layout of a city can impact supercell thunderstorms.

Blue Waters is supported by the National Science Foundation through awards ACI-0725070 and ACI-1238993.

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