PSC News in Brief

NSF Extends Funding for PSC’s Bridges System

PSC’s groundbreaking Bridges supercomputer will provide value to the research community for an additional year, extending operations through November 2020, thanks to $1.9 million in added operational funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The new award, which will fund mostly staff positions, brings the total funding for Bridges to over $19 million. NSF awarded the original grant for Bridges to begin in December 2014.

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NSF Funds Artificial Intelligence Upgrade for Bridges

PSC’s Bridges supercomputer is being upgraded to provide world’s most powerful AI servers to the national research community. The supplemental award of $1.8 million from the National Science Foundation funds acquisition of the resource, which features specialized graphics processing units (GPUs). The integration of Bridges-DL—for “deep learning”—with the rest of Bridges and new staff positions will help researchers exploit the system’s full potential.

The new resource, delivered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), will add an NVIDIA DGX-2 enterprise AI research system and nine HPE Apollo 6500 Gen10 servers. The NVIDIA DGX-2 tightly integrates 16 NVIDIA Tesla “Volta” GPUs—the most powerful GPUs in the world—using the world’s highest-bandwidth on-node switch, the NVSwitch. When used as a single processing unit, the DGX-2 provides 2 petaflops of peak performance, 1,000 times faster than a high-end laptop.

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CMU, PSC and Pitt to Build Brain Data Repository

Researchers with Carnegie Mellon’s Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center (MBIC), the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) and the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Biological Imaging (CBI) will help to usher in an era of open data research in neuroscience by building a confocal fluorescence microscopy data repository. The data archive will give researchers easy, searchable access to petabytes of existing data.

The project is funded by a $5 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) National Institute of Mental Health and is part of the federal BRAIN initiative.

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PSC Part of New NSF-Funded Cybersecurity Group

PSC will be a collaborating institution in a $4.9-million cybersecurity award from the National Science Foundation. The grant will fund a new center focused on protecting and securing U.S. research, led by Indiana University. The PSC part of the new collaboration will be led by Jim Marsteller, PSC’s Chief Information Security Officer.

The Research Security Operations Center, or ResearchSOC, is a virtual center led by IU and distributed across that institution and PSC, Duke University and University of California San Diego. ResearchSOC will help provide the research and education community with the cybersecurity services, training and information sharing necessary to make scientific computing resilient to cyberattacks.

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CMU Group Describes “Superhuman” Poker AI in Science

In a December 2017 paper in the prestigious journal Science, Tuomas Sandholm, CMU professor of computer science, and Noam Brown, a PhD student in the Computer Science Department, detailed how their AI achieved superhuman performance at Heads-Up, No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker. As covered in PSC Science Highlights earlier that year, “Libratus” beat four of the world’s best human players by breaking the game into computationally manageable parts and, based on its opponents’ game play, fixing potential weaknesses in its strategy during the competition. Libratus used PSC’s Bridges system to play and to formulate its strategy.

Earlier that month, another paper by Sandholm and Brown about Libratus took one of three best paper awards at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2017) conference in Long Beach, Calif.

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Michael Levine and Ralph Roskies Day in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County

By proclamation of the mayor and the county executive, Feb. 16, 2018 was Michael Levine and Ralph Roskies Day in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Mayor Peduto and County Executive Fitzgerald recognized the now-retired scientific directors of PSC for their service to the city’s and county’s technical base and scientific progress over 30 years.

On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, respectively, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives voted on proclamations similarly recognizing the pair. In a private event, PSC honored Levine, Roskies and co-PSC-founder James Kasdorf for their legacy of service and discovery.

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HERMES Public Health Modeling Software Released for Public Use

Public health experts at the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) released their HERMES (Highly Extensible Resource for Modeling Event-Driven Supply Chains) supply-chain modeling software for public use in April, 2018. The user-friendly HERMES software will enable decision makers and other stakeholders to analyze supply chains of vaccines and other medical supplies to make them more efficient and reliable.

All too often, life-saving vaccines are not reaching people who need them, according to Jay DePasse, PSC’s Director of Public Health Applications. Understanding how the various components of a vaccine supply chain interact with each other is critical to evaluating the logistics of a supply chain, identifying the root causes of issues and formulating sustainable solutions.

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PSC Hosts PEARC18 Conference

In July 2018, PSC staff helped lead the PEARC18 high performance computing conference in Pittsburgh. Consisting of five days of tutorials, plenary and contributed talks, workshops, panels, poster sessions and a visualization showcase, the annual Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC) conference—with the theme Seamless Creativity—stressed key objectives for those who manage, develop and use advanced research computing throughout the U.S. and the world.

PSC’s Sergiu Sanielevici served as general chair of PEARC18. A total of 657 people, including 74 students, registered for the conference held at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown to discuss the state of the art in advanced research computing and data analytics.

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PSC Student Interns Present Projects

On the week of Aug. 6, 2018, PSC’s student interns described their summer projects in a seminar for PSC staff. The paid interns tackled problems ranging from materials science to drug discovery to high performance computer system management:

  • Matthew Bialecki, “Working with the Elastic Stack”
  • Tina Chang, “Drug Discovery with Machine Learning”
  • Alice Lee, “Bridges Utilization Dashboard using the ELK stack”
  • Anand Sakhare, “Deep Learning Scaling and Benchmarking on Bridges”
  • Shoham Sen, “Physical Properties of Graphene using Density Functional Theory”
  • Eric Su, “Queue Wait Time Prediction with Machine Learning”
  • William Taylor, “Login Tracking System”
  • Bradley Zhou, “Tools to Assist in Studies of High Entropy Alloys”