A LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR


Welcome to Texascale, the new annual magazine of the Texas Advanced Computing Center. We have launched this magazine to bring news from our center to the many stakeholders who support us. The work we do at TACC has never been more central to research at The University of Texas at Austin, and around the state, the nation, and the world.

Simulation is one of the most important tools for advancing fundamental science and accelerating engineering progress. The ubiquitous availability of massive amounts of digital data from scientific instruments, mobile phones, and other edge computing devices has made the so-called "Big Data" problem part of the advanced computing world, with profound implications not just in traditional fields of simulation science, but in business, social sciences, and the humanities as well.

Progress turning this data into useful and actionable knowledge is being driven by the breathtaking pace of advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning (AI/ML/DL), which could impact nearly every job on the planet from marketing and customer service to healthcare and agriculture. We are only just scratching the surface of our AI capabilities and the role that AI might play in scientific research — and AI will in turn be driven by the frontiers of advanced computing.

Future generations of AI and advanced computing may be extended by another revolutionary technology: quantum information science, an emerging field with the potential to produce revolutionary advances in science and engineering.

Together, this set of technologies that converge around advanced computing — simulation, data, AI, quantum — will be key not only to advancing fundamental science and engineering, but also to tackling many of the core problems our nation will face in the future: cybersecurity, resilient and sustainable infrastructure, food and energy production, and the list goes on.

These many missions have created new challenges at TACC. Fortunately, we have never been better prepared to meet them. This year, TACC was selected as the recipient of the National Science Foundation's new "Towards a Leadership-Class Computing Facility" award. The first visible manifestation of this award will be the deployment of the largest system we have ever built, Frontera, featured prominently in this magazine. Frontera also represents the next stage of TACC's evolution in our ongoing quest for scale in systems, in science, and in challenges that match our home state of Texas, where "Everything is Bigger"... Texascale.

Dan Stanzione, Executive Director, TACC
Associate Vice President for Research, The University of Texas at Austin