MA Green High Performance Computing Center
The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) is a data center dedicated to supporting the growing research computing needs of five of the most research-intensive universities in Massachusetts: Boston, Harvard, and Northeastern Universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts. MGHPCC resources will be also available to other research institutions. A further goal of the project was to energize economic activity in downtown Holyoke’s former industrial district.
High Performance Computing (HPC) deploys many computers working closely together to solve computationally complex problems that are too large or would take too long for standalone desktop or server computers. Today’s HPC systems range from 100s to 100s of thousands of computers working in concert. The computers, and the cooling equipment needed to cool the computers, require a significant amount of energy and space to operate. Thus, the participating universities expanded their research capacity and saved money by collectively investing in one data center.
In addition, the data center allows the different universities to easily share information on the servers with one another, leading to collaboration on such topics as life sciences and clean energy research. The new location of the data center offers many advantages over a Boston‐area location. In Holyoke, land is more readily available and more affordable than Boston. Furthermore, labor costs, cost of living, and, perhaps most importantly, energy cost is less than Boston. The MGHPCC purchases its power from Holyoke Gas & Electric, which currently offers the lowest industrial electricity rates in Massachusetts and derives most of its energy from renewable energy sources, the city’s hydroelectric dam and solar arrays.