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

This 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. 

Bridges, however, is about much more than sustaining the scientific communities that have found Blacklight’s data-oriented architecture to be so useful for their work. Bridges will incorporate lessons learned from Blacklight and the DXC/Data Supercell projects to serve an expanding community of researchers, both traditional and new to HPC, requiring very large memory, sophisticated analytics and, above all, an unsurpassed level of flexibility to support the needs of “Big Data” research projects. We’re proud, once again, to be leading in the effort to bring HPC to a wider circle of investigators. 

Successful projects—among the last performed on the NSF-funded Blacklight—include building a virtual poker player that took on four of the best Texas Hold’em players in the world (p. 4); testing the myriad of decision-making theories to better understand how people make choices (p. 8); and assembling and identifying the active genes in the economically important whiteleg shrimp, the number one human food source from the sea (p. 18). And the D.E. Shaw Research Anton supercomputer hosted at PSC has once again helped overturn preconceptions about the function of complex biomolecules, giving a new perspective on an enzyme that we’d thought to be “understood” (p. 14). 

In addition to serving users across the nation and the world, PSC continues to pursue independent research. Our Public Health and Networking groups have reported success in uncovering advantages to increasing the size of vaccine vials in West Africa (p. 23) and have won renewed funding to improve network performance (p. 22), respectively. Our participation in the National Center for Multiscale Modeling of Biological Systems is generating exciting results regarding the subcellular neurostructure of the brain in multiple species. And our largest research effort, the DXC, continues to expand its capabilities (p. 20). 

Membership in XSEDE continues to be of great importance to PSC, with PSC staff providing leadership in user support and collaboration, networking and elsewhere. As a resource within the NSF’s XSEDE network of HPC sites, Bridges will serve an even broader community than Blacklight’s. 

We would like to acknowledge all our funders, especially the NSF, the NIH and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (p. 10). We would like to hear any feedback you have, on our work or this publication. You can send any comments or suggestions via our feedback page at http://www.psc.edu/index.php/feedback. You can also contribute to PSC’s nonprofit, academic mission at psc.edu/donate.

Michael Levine and Ralph Roskies