From Director – Spring 2020

Dear Colleagues:

Welcome to the Spring/Summer 2020 PSC Science Highlights!

I am Shawn Brown, and in November 2019, I was named the new Director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. I am extremely humbled and honored to be taking this position. When I started at PSC in 2005 as a Senior Chemistry Support Specialist, I never imagined then that I would be given the opportunity to lead such a storied and wonderful organization.

I was told by many people that this would be my opportunity to assemble my “dream team.” Frankly, I already have it. It is my privilege to work with such an accomplished, hard-working and experienced staff with the support of two world-renowned research universities, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

PSC has always been a place academic, government and corporate researchers from all over the world have come to get science done. With the support of both universities, I plan on elevating PSC into a hub for scientific collaboration, for training and workforce development, and for pushing the boundaries of advanced research computing. I would like to take the opportunity here to tell you some of the things we are doing and where we are heading.

The scientific highlights within this publication are just the tip of the iceberg. Over the last year alone, PSC has supported over 700 research projects involving thousands of researchers across all areas of scientific discovery and more than 1,200 publications. PSC is dedicated to accelerating new scientific communities with advanced research computing. Around 40 percent of our users are researchers who have never before used high performance computing.From networking, to computing, to data storage and management, to collaborative research with our staff, PSC provides a complete environment for collaborative scientific discovery.

Our computational platform Bridges ( was designed from the beginning to offer a new type of research computing, with a focus on researchers who have never before needed advanced computing. We will continue this work with our recently awarded Bridges-2 platform (, which will facilitate a new level of data-intensive computing, data sharing and highly collaborative research. Our Anton 2 system (, the only system available for open research, gives biomolecular researchers unprecedented ability to simulate chemical systems faster than ever before possible. With our Bridges-AI platform ( and our AI & Big Data team (, we are pushing the field by providing hardware, software and collaborative expertise for scaling up AI, machine learning and deep learning in many areas. 

Our Human BioMolecular Atlas Program Consortium (HubMAP,, Brain Imaging Library (BIL, and National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS, projects center around making vast, complex and multi-modal datasets available to the research community and enhancing their ability to use this data in highly collaborative analyses. They involve wonderful collaborators from across the country.

Training and education are also a large part of our work here at PSC, with a focus on the next generation of computational and data analytic scientists and specialists. Our XSEDE workshop series has trained almost 3,000 researchers and students around the country in high performance computing, big-data analytics, use of novel architectures and AI computing. We host an internship program that this year included 11 students working closely with PSC researchers and staff in the confluence of deep learning, Big Data and HPC. We also plan to expand upon our ongoing programs to help increase the diversity of the workforce by introducing young women to computer programming and help to increase local high school teaching capacity through curriculum development. 

Finally, I would like to acknowledge all our funders, especially the NSF, the NIH and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Their continued support will enable a new chapter in PSC’s history that, I trust, will be a worthy successor of the last 34 years.