Historic supercomputer to be shut down

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois announced on Monday that its Blue Waters supercomputer will be shut down on Dec. 31.

Blue Waters, fully operational since 2013, held the distinction of being the fastest supercomputer on a university campus worldwide for six years. Intended to operate for only five years, Blue Waters’ operational lifespan was stretched to nine years, during which the computer aided in thousands of scientific and engineering discoveries.

Blue Waters is credited with aiding research on COVID-19 and other viruses, Earth’s geology, climate and weather and features of the universe such as black holes and galaxies. The computer even helped the Supreme Court of Ohio decide a gerrymandering case.

“Blue Waters was not just a peak petascale system – it was a true sustained-petascale system, specifically designed to be well-balanced and deliver sustained petascale computing power and productivity across a broad and inclusive gamut of science, engineering and research disciplines,” said NCSA Director William Gropp. “Because of this balance, for nine years the Blue Waters Project enabled remarkable work in a wide range of research areas.”

The NCSA is planning to build off Blue Waters’ success by commissioning Delta, a new supercomputer, in 2022.

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