Temple team awarded NIH shared-instrumentation grant

Science Education and Research Center

In the past eight years, a critical mass of world-class faculty, both junior and senior scientists, have joined the College of Science and Technology’s biology, chemistry and physics departments helping to bolster the university’s expertise in computational science—the use of mathematical models and computer simulations to explore and solve real-world scientific problems. 

Reflecting Temple’s success in both recruiting faculty and advanced scientific investigation, a team of CST scientists led by Laura H. Carnell Professor of Biophysics & Computational Biology Ronald Levy recently received a highly competitive shared-instrumentation grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH award of $400,000 will support the installation of a high-performance computer cluster that will be used for diverse research projects in biophysics, biochemistry, structural biology, genomics and beyond. 

“Flu and HIV vaccines, structure-based drug design and precision-guided drug delivery, new insights into the evolution of species, and the development of molecular machines to attack disease, these are some of the research projects that will be greatly impacted by access to the most advanced high-performance computing power on campus,” says Levy, the director of CST’s Center for Biophysics & Computational Biology.  

In addition to Levy, the CST team submitting the grant included Dean Michael Klein, Christian Schafmeister and Vincent Voelz from chemistry; Jody Hey from biology; and Giacomo Fiorin and Vincenzo Carnevale from the university’s Institute for Computational Molecular Science (ICMS). Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers Roland Dunbrack and Heinrich Roder complete the original team that submitted the proposal in spring 2014. The high-performance cluster will support the NIH-funded and related biomedical research of more than seventy investigators in nine research groups across the university. 

“The high-performance cluster is uniquely suited for the computationally intensive, highly parallelizable simulations—where thousands of processors work on the same problem simultaneously—as used by many of the investigators supported by this award,” says Levy, who joined Temple from Rutgers University in 2014. “With this hardware, the talent of our faculty and the work already happening at ICMS and other research centers, the College of Science and Technology has embarked on a transformative path to developing computational molecular science at Temple University.”

The computer cluster, scheduled for installation in the Science Education and Research Center in October, consists of 1360 Intel CPU cores and 40 NVIDIA GPUs, capable of performing up to 264 teraflops (1 teraflops = one trillion floating point operations per second). This raw computing power is complemented by the latest networking and storage technology, enabling CST computational scientists to leverage the National Institutes of Health’s investment in biomedical research at Temple.