Officials Hope Tulsa Supercomputer Will Be Economic Boost

Friday, June 22nd 2012, 6:17 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa will soon be home to the largest supercomputer in the nation, one that anyone can use.

City leaders say combining research and entrepreneurs will be an economic boost to the region.

The partnership behind the Tulsa supercomputer said it will fuel economic development and boost universities, colleges and small businesses.

"It's going to lead to the creation of significant jobs and economic development opportunity," Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said.

Under the leadership of the Oklahoma Innovation Initiative, the University of Tulsa, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and Tulsa Community College pooled resources for the $6.7 million needed to build, operate and maintain the supercomputer project.

You use a supercomputer when your problems are too big for one computer to handle.

Any researcher and entrepreneur will be able to use it.

Alex Barclay will be building the supercomputer.

"Our researchers or our small business users can use it from their desktops at home," said Alex Barclay, Director of Supercomputer. "They use remote access programs to basically come in through the front door of the supercomputer."

There are also a public benefits.

For example, the supercomputer could take health information and predict to help with prevention.

"We can predict where Tulsa's health will be 20 years from now," OU-Tulsa president Gerry Clancy said. "How many people will need liver transplants, kidney transplants."

Tulsa's supercomputer will have the data storage equal to a stack of data CDs a half-mile high.

It will be housed inside a refrigerated room at city hall with cabinets that each hold dozens of computers and high-speed fiber-optic networking that all talk to each other.

It takes a lot of energy to keep this machine going -- the same amount of energy to power an entire neighborhood.

Construction on the supercomputer begins in a few weeks.

It should be operational by October 1.