Milwaukee Institute Plugs Into National Supercomputer to Boost Resources

[Updated 2/5/15, 10:24 a.m., with additional comments.] The Milwaukee Institute, a nonprofit that offers high-performance computing services to Wisconsin academics and companies, has struck a partnership with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The move allows the Milwaukee Institute and its clients to tap into the resources of the NCSA, which has been around for more than a quarter century and has a staff of more than 200. The NCSA operates the iForge and Blue Waters supercomputer systems and has served large companies conducting research in genomics, agriculture, oil and gas, and water systems, according to a press release.

The Milwaukee Institute, founded in 2007, has helped companies and organizations in a variety of sectors perform research and develop new products and services by analyzing large datasets, modeling, simulation, and utilizing other complex software tools. It has worked on projects with big corporations like Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK) and Briggs & Stratton (NYSE: BGG), as well as small startups like SmartUQ, which recently raised $1.8 million from investors after going through the Madworks seed accelerator in Madison, WI. The institute also works with groups dedicated to strengthening industry clusters in Wisconsin, including The Water Council, the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium, and Bioforward.

“With NCSA as a strategic partner, we can now better address other growing areas such as advanced manufacturing and intelligent automation,” Milwaukee Institute executive director Jay Bayne said in a press release, calling the partnership a “natural step forward” for his organization.

NCSA has larger and more sophisticated computing systems that will be able to handle more complex tasks than the Milwaukee Institute’s equipment, Bayne said in an interview.

“Our computer systems can talk to each other. There’s all kinds of synergies there,” he said. “More importantly, we both are concerned about raising the awareness in small, medium manufacturers that they can do their product development in shorter cycles, with higher quality. We’re trying to help them do it.”

Milwaukee Institute and NCSA also plan to work together to help software developers “push the envelope,” and both organizations will support workforce development initiatives that help produce skilled computer and software engineers, Bayne said.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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