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SuperPower
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SuperPower
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With the most powerful university-based computer — the seventh most powerful computer in the world — the new Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations places Rensselaer at the forefront of supercomputer research and technology.

By Michael Mullaney
Photos by Lonny Kalfus

When President Shirley Ann Jackson announced the creation of the $100 million Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI) in May 2006, she drew laughter from the audience in the Heffner Alumni House by noting that at 100 teraflops, CCNI would pack more computational power than Data, the insightful android from the television show Star Trek: The Next Generation, who often bragged of his 60-teraflops processor brain.

But Jackson’s statement was more than a joke. It put into context the tremendous power of CCNI to advance and transform research — ushering in the “next generation” of discovery and innovation. With the opening of CCNI this summer, and its official dedication in September, Rensselaer now has the most powerful university-based computer — the seventh most powerful computer in the world.

At peak performance, CCNI, located at the Rensselaer Technology Park in North Greenbush, will pack 100 teraflops of computing power. That means the computers will be able to perform 100 trillion calculations per second, or about 15,000 calculations per second for every man, woman, and child on the planet.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2007 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.