Rochester Institute of Technology

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MRI: Acquisition of an Advanced Computing Cluster for General Relativistic Astrophysics
PI: Manuela Campanelli; Co-PI(s): Joshua Faber, Hans-Peter Bischof, Carlos Lousto, Yosef Zlochower
Award: NSF PHY-1229173 Dates: 09/01/2012—08/31/2015; Funds: $290,110


This award supports the acquisition of a 600-core, high-speed, large-memory computer cluster, "BlueSky", dedicated to supporting interdisciplinary research at the frontiers of gravitational physics, relativistic astrophysics, advanced high-performance computation, and scientific visualization in the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Research will focus on some of the most extreme phenomena in the universe, where the strongest gravitational and magnetic fields interact with ultra-relativistic matter and high-energy radiation, that can only be studied through advanced, large-scale computation and visualization. These includes: (1) calculation of accurate gravitational wave signals from intermediate-mass ratio, highly-spinning black-hole binary inspirals and mergers, (2) the development of a highly accurate General Relativistic Magnetohydrodynamics code (which will be made publicly available through the Einstein Toolkit Consortium) for the modeling of neutron star mergers, accretion disks, and core-collapse supernovae, (3) calculation of electromagnetic signals from merging supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. Our research will use the enhanced speed of GPUs to generate fast and accurate hybrid gravitational signatures for LIGO data analysis.

Research training will involve students across several programs and colleges at RIT. Visualizations will be used for enhancing the classroom experience of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf and out-of-class educational activities. The cluster will be housed in the CCRG "Black-Hole" Lab. The laboratory is cooled using a state-of-the-art, in-rack, green-cooling solution provided by OptiCool Technologies. The laboratory has large glass walls along a high-traffic corridor, making the cluster and its operation highly visible to the public. Seeing "BlueSky" will stimulate interest in the instrument itself, gravitational physics, astrophysics in general, and green technologies.

Research Areas

Binary Black Holes