Rochester Institute of Technology

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MRI: Acquisition of an Advanced Computer Cluster for Computational Relativity and Gravitation
PI: Manuela Campanelli; Co-PI(s): David Merritt, Carlos Lousto, Yosef Zlochower
Award: NSF PHY-0722703 Dates: 09/01/2007—08/31/2012; Funds: $331,974


This award supports the acquisition of a high-performance computer cluster to enable cutting-edge research at the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation (CCRG), recently formed at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Research programs at the CCRG will focus primarily on gravitational physics and astrophysics: modeling and simulation of gravitational wave sources involving compact objects, such as black-hole binaries, theoretical predictions of gravitational wave signals, evolution of star clusters and active galactic nuclei containing supermassive black holes, and galaxy mergers. The computer cluster will be the main computational platform for the gravitational wave research at the CCRG, and will therefore play a critical role in the successful development and completion of the Center's research programs. The research enabled by the computer cluster will contribute to the success of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), since it will be used primarily for the numerical relativityresearch (e.g. numerical modeling and simulation of gravitational wave sources) needed to produce the gravitational waveform templates to be used in the analysis of LIGO's data. This research will build upon the RIT group's previous breakthrough in binary black hole simulation leading to the technique of Emoving punctures' that now has become the most popular method to evolve black-hole binaries (and recently neutron stars) on supercomputers. In order to continue the development of this technique, and to increase the number of its astrophysical applications, a new dedicated cluster with new high-speed intercommunication technology is required. While this computer cluster will be used predominantly for numerical relativity research, other researchers and students at RIT will also benefit from it and from the research opportunities that the cluster will create at the CCRG.