Supercomputer Online for Science Research – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Supercomputer Online for Science Research

They call themselves MERCURY and chemistry research is what they do via supercomputer.

March 15, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—Science research at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is now being conducted on a supercomputer that has just come online, connecting the Colleges with six other northeastern liberal arts institutions who call themselves MERCURY, which stands for Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate computational chemistRY. A Web site has been published to describe the high-tech endeavor; it is located at

MERCURY provides access to high performance computing for chemistry students as well as researchers. Current equipment consists of a 32 processor SGI Origin 300 and an 8 processor SGI Origin 300, and they are investigating adding a 100-node Beowulf cluster.

Carol Parish, assistant professor of chemistry who oversees a research group at Hobart and William Smith, said that an additional Beowulf cluster would be added to the Colleges this coming summer, augmenting the existing 20-node cluster currently on-site. The computing power will allow students to continue research projects such as those concerning protein folding and drug design. The students and researchers at all the consortium institutions will also attend an annual conference to present the results of their calculations as well as publish the results of their work in peer review journals. In addition to HWS, the consortium consists of Colgate University, Connecticut College, College of the Holy Cross, St. Lawrence University, Vassar College, and Hamilton College, all of whom have undergraduate research programs in computational chemistry.

“This technology gives an outstanding group of computational chemists greater access to state-of-the-art computational power and allows for their undergraduate research projects to flourish,” said Parish.

The project is funded through a nearly $800,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The supercomputer is housed at Hamilton College.

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