Regions Southern Virginia

Danville supercomputer now in operation

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Danville on Friday celebrated its status as home to one of the nation’s most powerful computers, a Cray XMT2 supercomputer.

Using the XMT2, the Noblis Center for Applied High Performance Computing will be able to sift through large amounts of data and find commonalities between seemingly unrelated data “to connect the dots” and “find the needle in the haystack.”

“The XMT2 offers a level of computing power that is rarely found outside of federal laboratories and academic settings,” Gil Miller, Noblis corporate vice president and chief technology officer, said in a statement. “We are moving high performance computing out of the lab and into the field to solve real problems.”

Miller said the XMT2 excels at tasks such as pattern matching, scenario development, behavioral prediction, anomaly identification and graph analysis.

Noblis will use the center to develop client services in fields such as of national importance such as computational biology, DNA sequencing, air traffic management, semantic web applications, fraud detection and counterterrorism. The organization also is interested in working with partners such as researchers and small businesses who want to develop services and applications for the XMT2.

As a business model, the center is designed to expand Virginia’s high tech economic base. It is hoped that the center will draw other high-tech companies to the Danville area and further transform the region from what was once a tobacco and textile economy to one with a mix of businesses, including technology.

The center is a partnership in technology, created in collaboration with Noblis, Cray, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, and the city of Danville.

Last June, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that Noblis, a nonprofit science, technology and strategy organization, would invest $2.5 million to establish the Center for Applied High Performance Computing in Danville. The center will create 15 new jobs over the next three years and hire people in the fields of mathematics, computer science, engineering and software development.

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