Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center 

Advancing the state-of-the-art in high-performance computing,
communications and data analytics.

Blacklight Goes Dark

PSC is preparing to introduce its next generation XSEDE-allocated system. Bridges is planned to enter production in January 2016. To make room for Bridges, Blacklight was decommissioned on August 15, 2015.

For the transition period, PSC will provide Greenfield, a new resource that, like Blacklight, features large shared memory.

Blacklight users have received an email charting the transition period between Blacklight and Bridges. If you have any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 412-268-4960.


Blacklight was an SGI Altix UV 1000 supercomputer designed for memory-limited scientific applications in fields as different as biology, chemistry, cosmology, machine learning and economics. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Blacklight carried out this mission with partitions with as much as 16 Terabytes of coherent shared memory.

 Blacklight was in production from 2010 through late 2015.


Some of the important research enabled by Blacklight is highlighted here. To see more, check the Projects in Scientific Computing archive.

Supermassive Growth Spurt

Tiziana Di Matteo, Rupert Croft, Yu Feng & Nishikanta KhandaiCarnegie Mellon University

With MassiveBlack, the largest cosmological simulation of its kind to date, and a new approach to visualizing the results, enabled by PSC’s Blacklight, astrophysicists solved a puzzle about how some of the first black holes in the universe became supermassive in such a short time.

Read more: Supermassive Growth Spurt


Future Match: Enabling Better Organ Exchange Programs

Tuomas Sandholm, Carnegie Mellon University

Tuomas Sandholm and his PhD students at Carnegie Mellon University have been working with the United Network for Organ Sharing, the nonprofit organization that manages the national donor organ supply in the U.S. Their software automatically creates UNOS’s kidney-paired donation transplant plans, optimizing organ matches at 142 transplant centers.

Read more: FutureMatch


Catching Up with Wall Street

Mao Ye, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Using XSEDE shared-memory resources, researchers have started to show how the rapid speed of computerized stock trading may have little understood, non-beneficial effects on the market.

Read more: Catching Up with Wall Street


Putting Genes Together Really Fast

James VincentUniversity of Vermont; Phil Blood, XSEDE advanced user support consultant, PSC; Cecilia Lo, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Michael Barmada, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

PSC’s newest supercomputer, Blacklight, is helping to break open a potential bottleneck in processing and analysis of DNA sequence data.

Read more: Putting Genes Together Really Fast


Mining the Word Hoard

Noah Smith, Carnegie Mellon University

With Blacklight’s shared memory, Carnegie Mellon scientists are upping the ante of what’s possible with natural language processing.

Read more: Mining the Word Hoard


Lifeboat Africa

Curtis Marean, Arizona State University

An estimated 100,00 to 300,000 years ago, the human species survived a great population crash.  Blacklight helps archeologists study how and where that happened and how we emerged from it with unparalleled, complex behaviors, allowing us to adapt our surroundings to suit us rather than the other way around.

Read more: Lifeboat Africa