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Welcome to the Fall 2015 edition of People. Science. Collaboration. 

PSC Directors Photo 2012 0001This summer we marked a significant transition at PSC: We retired the Blacklight system, and in October will begin constructing the new, National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Bridges system (p. 12). In the interim, we have replaced Blacklight in the Data Exacell (DXC) accelerated development pilot project with the Greenfield system, to serve the needs of our users until Bridges goes into production. 

Read more: Fall 2015: From the Directors

LIFE is NOT Chess

CMU Poker Leaderboard


Life is not a chess game. 

The world is not a chessboard, with every piece visible. Life is more like a hand of poker, according to Tuomas Sandholm of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science. Other players have cards we can’t see and try to trick us. Could our decisions be better if we leveraged artificial intelligence? 

Read more: Fall 2015: Life is Not Chess

A Shift in Perspective

ShiftcovAnton Simulations Upend Picture of How Proteins Work 

The Anton simulations suggest that PKA has nine distinct communities (A through H). The size of the circles shows how big each community is physically, the width of the lines connecting communities show how strongly each one’s movements affect another.

Read more: Fall 2015: A Shift in Perspective

Understanding CHOICE

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Understanding how human beings make decisions is critical in fields like cybersecurity, public health, elections and governance, and economics. How often do people make rational choices, weighing all the options? How often do they use mental shortcuts, short-circuiting good choices?

Do our choices vary because we make mistakes, or are our minds split between different priorities? The answers to these questions matter whether we’re asking why people don’t choose healthy lifestyles, why they don’t come out to vote in elections or why they end-run security measures. The field suffers in particular from a large number of theoretical models that have not been sufficiently tested. 

Read more: Fall 2015: Understanding Choice


Shrimp Transcriptome Offers Secure Future Food Source, Better Understanding of Ocean Food Chain


Litopenaeus vannamei, the whiteleg shrimp, is the number one human food source from the sea. Over a million tons are harvested annually—a huge consumption volume that may not be sustainable. Mariculture, or “sea farming,” could help secure this harvest, but can be economically risky. Because inver- tebrates like shrimp have primitive immune systems, they can’t be vaccinated against diseases that can wipe out a farm colony.

Read more: Fall 2015: Securing the CHAIN

PSC's Impact on Pennsylvania

PSC provides a significant economic benefit to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition to supporting research, education and business activities throughout the Commonwealth, PSC consistently returns many times the state’s investment in federal funding, economic stimulation and workforce development. 

Read more: Fall 2015: PSC Impact on PA

News in Brief


PSC’s Data Exacell (DXC) pilot project has increased the community of researchers who can use the system and the scope of projects it can serve by adding new hardware and software resources. The DXC team added data storage to the system and launched dedicated servers to run Hadoop, the popular data-intensive software environment used in many scientific and business applications. 

Read more: Fall 2015: News in Brief


Bridges 4c stackedBridges Will Bring High-Performance Computing and Data Analysis to New Fields 

In 2016, PSC’s newest supercomputer, Bridges, will go online. The $9.65-million, NSF-funded Bridges represents the culmination of lessons learned from PSC’s Blacklight supercomputer and the Data Exacell pilot project. Bridges will offer unprecedented flexibility along with vastly more power. 

Read more: Fall 2015: Bridge to the Future

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh.

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