From established IT initiatives driving business success to the most cutting-edge trials and applications of emerging technologies, the FutureEdge 50 award honors organizations making technology advancements and the innovative cultures enabling them. UTSA was specifically chosen for the award because of its strategic plan to craft a unique new research infrastructure platform at the university with the help of a technology grant and support from Dell Technologies.
“This year’s class of FutureEdge 50 winners demonstrated enormous innovation, creativity and resilience as they grappled to advance their businesses during a challenging 2020,” said Anne McCrory, group vice president of customer experience and operations for IDG Communications and the FutureEdge 50 Awards chair, upon announcing the winners.
UTSA University Technology Solutions has been working to execute its bold strategy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting with research leaders across the university to learn more about their needs and identify ways to better accommodate their workloads. According to Nassos Galiopoulos, UTSA’s chief technology officer and deputy CIO, three key benefits will come from the university’s new research ecosystem.
First, high-performance computing at UTSA will beef up tremendously. The university’s new HPC cluster features 156 nodes of Dell EMC PowerEdge servers capable of 353 teraflops, an increase of nearly 200 teraflops over the previous SHAMU HPC cluster. This significant upgrade will cut job times in half, and in some cases more than half.
Another emphasis of the new platform is optimized storage. It will be faster, more secure and will meet the various regulations required of research teams across the university—whether they’re collaborating with the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, or other federal and state entities. This improvement will better accommodate researchers working with big data sets as well as those who have a demand for “super-fast” storage.
University Technology Solutions has also leveraged an open cloud concept to provide researchers the enhanced capability to create and deploy the applications necessary to collect data and share their insights with colleagues across the world.
These three benefits are essential to a groundbreaking research environment designed with future expansion in mind. “This environment is scalable, it can accommodate the different types of research requirements we have, and it has been designed with the primary mission to reduce the time to science so that our researchers can do their work a lot faster,” Galiopoulos said.
While UTSA research centers and institutes like the Open Cloud Institute, Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), MATRIX AI Consortium and others based in the College of Sciences and College of Engineering will immediately benefit from the Dell Technologies grant, the improved research infrastructure will also branch out to other colleges that have shown an increased interest in areas of study such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning.
“Dell’s technology donation to UTSA’s knowledge enterprise is driving further transdisciplinary research across the university including the humanities and the arts as we expand the research IT infrastructure to be inclusive for all,” said Bernard Arulanandam, vice president for research, economic development, and knowledge enterprise at UTSA. “Our dedicated research centers and institutes are benefiting from this investment, by spurring additional high-research activities and engaging even more undergraduate and graduate students in the investigative process.”
Bolstered by UTSA’s IT leadership, strategic plan and innovative approach, CIO chose the university for the FutureEdge 50 Award over numerous research institutions that have already earned an R1 designation by the Carnegie Commission. The prize will strengthen UTSA’s profile as it aims for its own R1 designation and further aligns with members of the prestigious Association of American Universities.
“It has been a joy to see this team lead UTSA where it has never been before,” Ketchum said of the wide-ranging efforts of University Technology Solutions to bring the new research infrastructure to fruition.