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NCSA Allocates Over 21 Million Node Hours in New Blue Waters Supercomputer Awards

Photograph of the Blue Waters supercomputer cabinets with a lens flare at the top shining down from the floressent lights

Forty research teams, 16 Blue Waters Professors, and three strategic projects at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been allocated computation time on the National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ (NCSA) Blue Waters supercomputer for use in 2020. These allocations range from 50,000 to 1,000,000 node-hours of compute time over one year, and altogether total more than 21 million node-hours (over 670 million core-hour equivalents), valued at over $13 million. The research pursuits of these teams are incredibly diverse, ranging anywhere from studies on the disassembly of the Hepatitis B virus capsid to simulating neutron stars and black holes.

Blue Waters, one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, is capable of sustaining 1.3 quadrillion calculations every second and at peak speed can reach a rate of 13.3 petaflops (calculations per second). Its massive scale and balanced architecture help scientists and scholars alike tackle projects that could not be addressed with other computing systems.

NCSA’s Blue Waters project provides University of Illinois faculty and staff a valuable resource to perform groundbreaking work in computational science and is integral to Illinois’ mission to foster discovery and innovation. Through the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is able to fund Blue Waters operations for 2020. The system and the University’s robust HPC community presents a unique opportunity for the U of I faculty and researchers, with about 10 percent of the capacity of Blue Waters allocated to projects being done at the University through an increasingly competitive campuswide peer-review and the BW professor processes.



Aleksei Aksimentiev (Physics), Daniel Bodony (Aerospace Engineering), David Ceperley (Physics), Bryan Clark (Physics), Larry Di Girolamo (Atmospheric Sciences), Paul Fischer (Computer Science, Mechanical Science and Engineering), Mattia Gazzola (Mechanical Science and Engineering), William Gropp (Computer Science), Kaiyu Guan (Earth Sciences), So Hirata (Chemistry), Kathryn Huff (Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering), Athol Kemball (Astronomy), Sonia Lasher-Trapp (Atmospheric Sciences), Andre Schleife (Materials Science and Engineering), Diwakar Shukla (Molecular Biosciences) and Jeffrey Trapp (Atmospheric Sciences).

About Blue Waters

Blue Waters is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. Located at the University of Illinois, it can complete more than 1 quadrillion calculations per second on a sustained basis and more than 13 times that at peak speed. The peak speed is almost 3 million times faster than the average laptop. Blue Waters is supported by the National Science Foundation and the University of Illinois; the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) manages the Blue Waters project and provides expertise to help scientists and engineers take full advantage of the system for their research.

The Blue Waters sustained-petascale computing project is supported by the National Science Foundation (awards OCI-0725070, ACI-0725070 and ACI-1238993) and the state of Illinois.


The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation’s science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students and collaborators from around the globe use these resources to address research challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing many of the world’s industry giants for over 35 years by bringing industry, researchers and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

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

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