Tech looking for HPC partners

Photo by Tyler Meuter

As part of a continued revitalization, Tech is sponsoring the development of a High Performance Computing cluster in Tech Square.

The complex will be a mixed-use office, that includes not only offices, but computing clusters, and retail.

“[It will be a] “signature mixed-use office, computing center and retail complex … that integrates the existing assets of Technology Square with new opportunities in interdisciplinary research, commercialization, and sustainability,” said Ron Hutchins, the Associate Vice-Provost for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer in OIT.

Instead of proclaiming it a new project, Tech is heading this idea as an expansion or addendum to the 2003 restoration of the Tech Square area, in which $380 million were spent on revamping the land.

“The project seeks to construct more than a building – but rather to inspire and realize a sustainable, innovation ecosystem that integrates the existing assets of Technology Square with new opportunities in interdisciplinary research, economic development, commercialization, and sustainability,” the website for the project stated.

According to Hutchins, the complex will serve as an entire information ecosystem, encompassing Midtown Atlanta and the students of Georgia Tech. The companies that choose to join with the HPC would have data and research offices in Tech Square. Due to this proximity, Tech students will be able to take advantage of opportunities afforded by companies in the area.

“We want students in this space. We want the business analytics program … we want the mechanical engineers, the EE’s etc. We’ve got a huge need for a pipeline for students who understand high-performance computing and analytics,” Hutchins said.

While many computing clusters are built far away from metro centers, according to Hutchins, weighed against network costs, it is actually more cost effective for the clusters to be in the same building complex. The proximity of the data center will allow more efficient data transfer for users.

According to Hutchins, the Institute will try and choose the companies in the complex with a certain level of discretion, with preference given to those involved with fields such as genetic modeling, big data, research and development and computational banking, among many others. Hutchins confirmed that five companies had already expressed strong interest. Some publications reported on companies that they say have signed contracts with Tech, but Tech would not confirm any specific companies.

Currently, the Institute is in the Request for Qualification (RFQ) phase of development wherein interested developers will submit proposals demonstrating their qualifications for partnering with the Institute in research and development. Tech will ultimately choose one to develop the project.

“We only want people qualified for this, so we’re going to qualify all the parties first,” Hutchins said. “So you ask for qualifications which would mean experience, personnel et cetera and then from that list of people who sent you qualifications you narrow that down to who you approve of, and then you get that down to five of the best, and from there we’ll choose our developer.”

Once chosen, the developer will be in charge of leasing or acquiring the site as well as handling all aspects of the building process such as planning, financing, designing and operation.