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As we wind down the year and look back at all the stories we’ve posted about NCSA, our partners and all who keep us at the forefront of advanced research computing, here are the stories that most drew your attention in 2022.

Bright & Shiny

An image of Delta cabinets in the NPCF machine room.
NCSA’s Delta System.

Delta Now Fully Operational

Delta, NCSA’s newest supercomputer, marked its debut this year. As excitement grew about all the research possibilities GPU-based Delta promised, news continued to trickle out until October, when it was finally certified by the National Science Foundation as a fully functioning supercomputer offering exciting research computing opportunities for years to come.

An exterior photo of NCSA's National Petascale Computing Facility
NCSA’s National Petascale Computing Facility

New in ’22: Three New Supercomputing Resources and More

Delta wasn’t the only supercomputer news coming out of NCSA this year as the Center rolled out or updated several other compute resources:

  • Nightingale, a powerful HPC cluster that leverages capabilities provided to our clinical partners
  • HOLL-I (Highly Optimized Logical Learning Instrument), is designed to handle large-scale AI and machine-learning tasks
  • Clowder 2.0, an open-source data management framework for research 
  • vForge, the updated version of iForge, a high-performance computing cluster explicitly designed for NCSA’s industry partners

More Than Supercomputers

Photograph of Michelle Butler
Photograph of Michelle Butler

A 32-year Superstar in Cyberinfrastructure Retires

Beyond the hardware, we celebrated one of NCSA’s retiring virtuosos, Michelle Butler for all her accomplishments at NCSA. From humble beginnings in Illinois, Butler rose to prominence as she tackled challenges with aplomb. Her many accolades include projects as diverse as helping Pixar polish the movie Cars until it shone, to designing Blue Waters.

William Patterson standing outside in front of the stylized Hip Hop Xpress Double Dutch Boom Bus in a parking lot. holding "vote" signs
William Patterson and Joe Bolton with the Hip Hop Xpress Double Dutch Boom Bus during their Votercade event. Credit: Kanittha Fay

William Patterson Sends the Hip Hop Xpress Across Illinois and the U.S

If you’re looking for an uplifting tale to round out the year, William Patterson’s story reminds us of our power to change lives positively. A Fiddler Innovation Fellow, Patterson runs the Hip Hop Xpress, a bus loaded with STEM materials and projects designed to inspire people in underserved neighborhoods. The bus is only one small aspect of Patterson’s work, and NCSA is proud to be a part of the wonder and joy he brings to communities.

Prolific Partners

The Blanco Telescope in the Andes mountains appearing in front of a vivid black and blue night sky with thousands of bright stars that add an orange golden light on the sky's horizon
Observations for the Dark Energy Survey were carried out, using the Blanco Telescope in the Andes mountains of Chile. Photo: Reidar Hahn, Fermilab

Dark Energy Survey Makes Public Catalog of Nearly 700 Million Astronomical Objects

NCSA has a long legacy of partnering with groups with similar research and scholarship goals. Some of our partnerships have yielded astounding results.

NCSA joined a global collaboration that included the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab to help catalog and prepare DR2, the second release of images and object catalogs from the Dark Energy Survey, or DES.

This is a momentous milestone. The Dark Energy Survey collaboration took pictures of distant celestial objects in the night sky for six years. Now, after carefully checking the quality and calibration of the images captured by the Dark Energy Camera, we are releasing this second batch of data to the public. We invite professional and amateur scientists alike to dig into what we consider a rich mine of gems waiting to be discovered.

Rich Kron, DES Director, Fermilab and University of Chicago
Stylized graphic in a dark teal color with Advance to ACCESS logo in light teal and white.
NCSA leadership team and staff during the NSF award ceremony at UI Research Park in April 2022.

National Science Foundation Awards More Than $20M to NCSA for its Forthcoming ACCESS Program

Closer to Earth, you can find NCSA’s other interesting and fruitful partnerships. For example, ACCESS is a nationwide organization of supercomputing resources funded by the NSF. And NCSA was awarded $25m to help make it possible.

Making History

A stylized graphic of networking around the globe in shades of blue, dark teal and aqua.

A Reimagined Internet

NCSA’s history-making work has proven a popular topic over the year. Decades after developing the very first graphical internet browser, we continue to be a part of the evolving architecture of the internet, tending to the needs of users and future-proofing access to knowledge in years to come.

Three quarter view of the Blue Waters supercomputer with its black panels in a brightly lit white room
The Blue Waters Supercomputer for Sustained Petascale Computing supported by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications or NCSA and the University of Illinois.

Historic Blue Waters Supercomputer Ceasing Operations

The work done on Blue Waters exemplifies the effect NCSA has had on the world. We reported early in 2022, that after more than a dozen years – some of them as the largest supercomputer in the U.S. – this groundbreaking system was being retired. 

Blue Waters enabled computational, data analysis, and machine learning/artificial intelligence investigations that could not be done otherwise. Through the years, the increasing numbers of projects identified as “data-intensive” processing or as doing machine learning/artificial intelligence showed the leadership of Blue Waters and the impact it was making. Many projects were not just tightly coupled simulations, data-intensive analysis or machine learning but also combined these methods with multi-scale and multiphysics simulation to achieve cutting-edge results.

William Kramer, PI, Blue Waters program director, NCSA
NCSA 35-year stylized graphic in a blue and teal gradient filter imposed on NCSA's administrative building with molecules and computer chips to left of the viewer.

NCSA Reflects on 35 Years as a Supercomputing Powerhouse

Finally, the depth and breadth of what NCSA has accomplished is captured in this article, including the reflections of NCSA’s leadership over the years. 

It’s been another progressive year at NCSA. We’re looking forward to bringing you more stories that amaze, excite and inspire in 2023.

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