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January 25, 2013

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Rolls Out Big Data-Driven Supercomputer


On February 1, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) will host an event and symposium to launch its newest supercomputer, Sherlock. A uRiKA graph-analytics appliance from YarcData, Sherlock is designed to discover unknown relationships or patterns hidden in extremely large and complex bodies of information.

“Sherlock gives PSC the first system available to researchers that is optimized for a particularly difficult family of questions regarding, for example, security, medicine, public health, and social dynamics,” says Nick Nystrom, Director of Strategic Applications, PSC.

The 11 a.m. launch event will feature remarks by Ralph Roskies and Mike Levine, Scientific Directors of PSC. Other speakers will include:

  • Barry Schneider, Program Director for the National Science Foundation's Office of Cyberinfrastructure
  • Mark A. Nordenberg, Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh
  • Jared L. Cohon, President, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Arvind Parthasarathi, President, YarcData

The morning event will end with a demonstration by Nystrom of Sherlock's capabilities.

A 1 p.m. symposium will feature scientific talks by experts on graph analytics — the analysis of complex networks — including:

  • Nick Nystrom
  • Randal E. Bryant, University Professor of Computer Science and Dean, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Songjain Lu and Xinghua Lu, Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh
  • Christos Faloutsos, Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Jim Harrell, Vice President of Engineering, YarcData.

Their talks will focus on topics including:

  • The “massively multithreaded” architecture that allows Sherlock to follow multiple leads in complex networks that are intractable on other computers — and how PSC’s customization of Sherlock by adding general-purpose nodes enables broader classes of problems to be tackled.
  • “Graph models,” the types of arbitrary networks Sherlock was designed to address, and how they can be used to understand how networks of genes and proteins cause cells to become cancerous — and how doctors could disrupt such “cancer signals.”
  • Algorithms for working with graphs of significant size to understand the dynamics of social networks.

Sherlock was funded through the Strategic Technologies for Cyberinfrastructure program of the National Science Foundation, through a grant of over $1 million. This funding joins nearly $500 million in federal and industrial funding that PSC has previously drawn to Pennsylvania.

Attendees may register for the event at: https://www.psc.edu/index.php/events/sherlocklaunch

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