Mississippi Excels in High Performance Computing: Statewide Conference Showcases Achievements

Witnessed by Sarah Miller, Jackson State University and Mississippi State University unitedly hosted the inaugural Mississippi High Performance Computing Conference in Jackson, portraying a picture of bustling enthusiasm. (Featured image above)

JACKSON, Miss.—While Mississippi’s reputation is deeply rooted in its warm hospitality, agricultural prowess, and vibrant musical and sports legacy, it is also emerging as a prominent figure in the national high-performance computing realm.

For the first time ever, the inaugural Mississippi High Performance Computing Conference took place in Jackson on March 26-27, jointly organized by Mississippi State University and Jackson State University, showcasing Mississippi’s extensive HPC community. Mississippi takes pride in its impressive lineup of at least 18 high-performance computing clusters spread across various government and university systems, with seven systems standing tall among the top 500 most powerful systems worldwide.

During her keynote address, Christine Cuicchi, the director of the Navy Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center at Stennis Space Center, emphasized that these 18 systems collectively deliver a staggering 95 petaflops of computing power. The magnitude of a single petaflop translates to handling one quadrillion calculations every second.

“The impactful contributions of Mississippians in this domain are resonating both within our state and on a global scale,” said Cuicchi, a proud MSU alumna.

At the core of the conference was the pivotal theme of nurturing a workforce capable of overseeing Mississippi’s high-powered computing systems, which are instrumental in driving critical research initiatives supporting national defense. Leslie Leonard, the associate director for workforce development at the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP), encouraged the aspiring students and seasoned professionals present to explore diverse avenues leading into the computing field and to think innovatively beyond conventional paths. She shed light on the outreach programs implemented by HPCMP and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, aimed at inspiring the workforce of tomorrow.

“Early exposure to computational sciences and laboratory settings can serve as a catalyst in attracting top-notch talent to long-term roles,” mentioned Leonard, a distinguished JSU graduate.

Highlighting the strategic employment of HPC in fostering research excellence and forging new collaborations, JSU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Alisa L. Mosley underlined the university’s commitment to leveraging HPC for academic innovation and student empowerment.

MSU’s Associate Vice President for Corporate Engagement and Economic Development, Jim Martin, lauded MSU’s high-performance computing prowess, boasting two globally ranked systems in the top 500, while acknowledging that a cohesive HPC community spanning the state enriches the capabilities of each supercomputing site and university.

“Every individual present here should take pride in the groundbreaking developments in high-performance computing unfolding within Mississippi,” affirmed Martin.

The conference program encompassed engaging sessions on HPC curriculum, workforce cultivation, artificial intelligence, and other pertinent topics, alongside a dedicated workshop where students could exchange insights and experiences gained from HPC clubs and organizations. The event was expertly coordinated by JSU Chief Information Officer Deborah Dent and MSU High Performance Computing Director Mike Navicky.

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