Many branches of the natural sciences are currently in the process of transition to the use of data-driven concepts. In recognition of this, the Carl Zeiss Foundation will provide EUR 750,000 over four years to fund the Competence Center for HPC in the Natural Sciences at the Institute of Computer Science of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Jointly headed by Professor Bertil Schmidt, General Manager of the Institute of Computer Science, and Professor André Brinkmann, Director of the JGU Center of Data Processing, the objective of the new Competence Center for HPC in the Natural Sciences is to facilitate the successful transfer of research results in computer science (i.e. design, implementation, and evaluation of scalable methods for analyzing and storing large amounts of data) so that these can be employed within the natural sciences.
A two-pronged approach – specifically science and services – will transfer the benefits of HPC, affordable accelerators, and big data technology to Natural Science researchers.
“HPC plays an important role in the science-oriented fields of our university. The use of computer simulations is one of the most important techniques, in addition to modeling and experimentation, for generating new insights in the natural sciences. HPC has thus become a factor that enhances the profile of Mainz University and has contributed decisively to the competitiveness of our research,” said Professor Bertil Schmidt.
In particular, the competence center will work on applications in the fields of bioinformatics, the analysis of large amounts of data from particle accelerators, the identification and localization of meteorological structures, and the geosciences. The center will be focusing on the areas of hardware accelerators, benchmarking and application optimization, data mining, visual analytics, and stochastic optimization. It is also planned to create suitable program libraries to provide for the widest possible reutilization of results.
Professor Schmidt is well-known for his application of GPU accelerators to bioinformatics. He is a highly-rated NVIDIA GTC speaker and TechEnablement.com contributing author with posts such as, “Metagenomic Sequence Clustering using CUDA-enabled GPUs“.
Professor André Brinkmann added, “To meet these goals, the nature of the center must be oriented towards both research and provision of services. Whereas the implementation, expansion, and maintenance of user-friendly programs will clearly be a service aspect, the design and optimization of the programs on modern HPC computer architectures will be associated to many interesting research problems.”