Students at four Missouri universities are embarking on building a supercomputer in hopes that it’s ready to go by next school year. It will be used to process large amounts of data and perform complicated equations much faster than a normal computer would.

The four universities involved in this grant are Missouri Western, Truman State, Southeast Missouri State, and Webster University.

Colin DeGraf is a physics professor at Truman State University. He told Missourinet that the line of work he does requires high-performance computing.

“It’s a simulation which attempts to model as much of the universe as possible and running those really requires a national or international level supercomputer,” Degraf said. “Like the simulation I’ve been working with recently has between 15 and 20 million galaxies in it, and then there’s lots of information within that.”

Degraf said the research from this computer can be used in a variety of areas.

“I’ve also had conversations with data scientists, for instance, who look at sales data from supermarkets to try and help correlate with what supermarkets need to order based on what the weather is like outside to minimize wastage or cars and figure out how to make them as streamlined as possible,” he said. “All of this involves lots of computing.”

Degraf wants his students to use this supercomputer’s power for research and educational exercises.

“I was at research universities which had access to high performance computers so I could get experience using them, which, then, helped me do my own research and advance my career,” explained Degraf. “But a lot of places don’t have that. Those of us who are involved in this grant really wanted to see what we could get that we could use so that undergrads could have more experience with it.”

The supercomputer will be housed at the University of Missouri in Columbia, but outside of a security login, Degraf said that students and staff would be able to access it from anywhere.

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