Dedication Held For New High Performance Computing Cluster

A new $1.6 million High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster, called NOVA, was celebrated by the Iowa State University community at a dedication ceremony held Nov. 29.

NOVA was installed in the Durham Data Center in October to strengthen and support computing-based research and education on campus. Held in Durham 206, the Nov. 29 ceremony welcomed university researchers and stakeholders to learn more about NOVA, see the new cluster, and hear from university leaders about High Performance Computing at Iowa State.

NOVA was purchased this year with a $678,000 National Science Foundation Major Research Infrastructure grant. Additional project funding was provided by the university’s HPC Community Fund, a collaborative effort supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Agriculture and Life Sciences colleges, and Information Technology Services (ITS).

“With the advent of big data and data science, we're seeing more individuals connecting with the HPC environment,” said Vice President for Research Sarah Nusser, who spoke at the dedication. “Researchers who invest in the system receive tremendous benefit. They're able to make significant contributions to their fields, increase the competitiveness of their funding, and gain visibility for themselves and for Iowa State.”

Since 2006, there have been five major grants used to purchase HPC clusters. NOVA has more memory and twice the computational power of existing university clusters, and will support research ranging from weather modeling to data analytics for digital agriculture.


Associate Dean for Research for the College of Engineering Arun Somani speaks during the dedication ceremony held for Iowa State's new High Performance Computing cluster, NOVA, on Nov. 29.


NOVA was built with future expansion in mind, and when more power is needed it will be able to more than triple in size.  

“Many researchers need HPC, but they can’t afford large machines by themselves,” said Associate Dean for Research for the College of Engineering Arun Somani, who also spoke at the dedication. “The sharing culture we’ve created lets researchers develop and verify better models, conduct bigger research in multiple domains, and compete nationally.”