UW-Eau Claire, Hewlett Packard: Announce collaboration

Students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire can engage in more high-performance, data-driven research thanks to a new public-private collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise that dramatically increases the university’s supercomputing processing power.

The collaboration was announced Monday, April 26, at UW-Eau Claire.

Contributions totaling more than $700,000 from HPE, the National Science Foundation and UW-Eau Claire are enabling the university to purchase a high-performance computing cluster/supercomputing cluster and develop the Blugold Center for High-Performance Computing.

HPE contributed $363,426 in hardware and UW-Eau Claire contributed $20,000 to the project. A $350,000 National Science Foundation grant also supports the center.

“Thanks to Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the National Science Foundation, UW-Eau Claire is the first university in the United States to use HPE’s Apollo servers with the Cray hardware called Slingshot,” UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt says. “This investment epitomizes the power of partnerships to drive innovation and provide mutual benefits. Not only do UW-Eau Claire’s students gain the chance to conduct research in areas ranging from deep learning and artificial intelligence to data mining and computational number theories, HPE’s leaders and technicians can now pioneer new technologies and receive expert feedback from our talented faculty and staff.”

The additional 61 computer servers at an off-campus regional data center at Chippewa Valley Technical College can do some computations up to 100 times faster than what is possible with the existing Blugold Supercomputing Cluster that has 25 servers in UW-Eau Claire’s Phillips Science Hall.

“As HPE considered where to locate our Global Center of Excellence for Performance Computer Manufacturing, the advantages of staying in Chippewa Falls became clearer and clearer as we engaged Chancellor Schmidt and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff,” says Adam Bauer, director of Issues and Policy Communications for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “As a future-focused organization manufacturing supercomputers just up the road from this campus, the opportunity to partner with the university was a no-brainer. Together, we can advance research in Eau Claire to levels commensurate with any major university in the country. At the same time, students will have the opportunity to learn and work with us as undergraduates, laying a strong foundation for future employment.”