Computer cluster aims to draw researchers to Virginia campus

By investing in a computer cluster on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus, the University hopes to increase research on the campus by making it a destination for Foggy Bottom researchers. Hatchet File Photo

A computer cluster on the Virginia Campus for Science and Technology that will allow researchers to quickly crunch vast amounts of data could draw more faculty to the campus, giving the research camp a greater role within the University.

The $2 million cluster, called Colonial One, aims to increase interdisciplinary research, but also help raise the campus’ reputation in Virginia, where biotechnology companies are plentiful and could provide research opportunities for faculty and students. Professors across technical and medical fields often rely on high-performance computers to enhance research.

The 120-acre campus, located in Ashburn, Va., houses over 20 academic programs and will become home to a research centers focused on big data, genomics and computational biology that plan to open on the campus in the next few years. Those centers, in addition to Colonial One, will help shape the Virginia campus’s strategic plan, which is now being penned by Dean Ali Eskandarian.

“By virtue of being a rare valuable resource and an indispensable tool for complex problems requiring computational modeling, simulations, and calculations, Colonial One will be key in catalyzing collaboration among the researchers of the two campuses,” Eskandarian said in an email.

The plan will aim to further immerse the campus into the University. Students and faculty often have a difficult time getting to the campus, which sits about 45 minutes away from the Foggy Bottom Campus, because a shuttle system only goes back and forth a few times each day.

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