Bridges-2 Begins Production Operations

Apr 8, 2021

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has approved PSC’s new Bridges-2 system for production operations. PSC offers time on the NSF-funded, advanced research computing platform to researchers performing academic work, at no cost to them.

Bridges-2 enters production operations after a successful Early User Program (EUP), in which select expert users performed work on the system while helping PSC staff identify and correct any bugs in the platform. Over 250 early users carried out more than 180 EUP projects from over 150 different institutions in 33 states around the country. In doing so, they accomplished a number of scientific goals while helping ensure that Bridges-2 was ready for general use, including:

  • Scientists at the Catholic University of America employed Bridges-2 to simulate the Bacteriophage T4, herpes simplex and SARS-Cov-2 viruses at a higher resolution than ever before. These exact pictures of the millions of atoms in each virus will serve as targets for drug design for COVID-19 and herpes, and may help researchers engineer the T4 virus, which attacks bacteria, to target bacteria that cause human disease.
  • A group of scientists from The Water Institute on the Gulf, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, the RAND Corporation and Purdue University used Bridges-2 to help validate the 2023 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan for preserving and mitigating the state’s coastline in the face of climate change. As part of this validation, they compared the system’s predictions to data from major hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and Isaac, and simulated the probability of future water surface surges.
  • Researchers from Predictive Science Inc. simulated the Sun’s corona and solar wind over a period of one month. Their computer model duplicated known solar behavior; it also generated important time-dependent features such as “solar bubbles.” The work is critical for managing the Sun’s effects on global communications networks and for guarding the safety of astronauts during extended space travel.
  • A University of California, Riverside team continued their molecular dynamics simulations with Bridges-2’s predecessor, Bridges, using the new system to simulate the DNA editing protein CRISPR-Cas12a. A component of the CRISPR gene-editing tool, Cas12a is a critical component of the new DETECTR technology for rapid identification of SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses.

Academic allocations on Bridges-2 are assigned through the NSF’s XSEDE network of supercomputing sites, of which PSC is a leading member. Users can also acquire time on the system for proprietary work on a cost-recovery basis. The current proposal period ends April 15, 2021; deadline for the next is the following July 15. Read the article here.