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Grant Writing: Resource Descriptions: Center for Advanced Computing (CAC) at Cornell University, Ithaca

Center for Advanced Computing

The Cornell University Center for Advanced Computing (CAC) is a leader in high-performance computing systems, applications, and data solutions that enable research success. CAC computing and consulting services help researchers accelerate discovery and broaden impact. 


Located on the Ithaca, NY campus of Cornell University, CAC serves the computational and data analysis needs of the Cornell community and their collaborators from science and engineering and the humanities.


CAC serves the national community as a partner on the NSF-funded Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE). CAC director David Lifka is the XSEDE Architecture and Design Coordinator. CAC staff consultants develop and deliver XSEDE training programs and software distributions.


As a core service facility, CAC provides high-performance computing and cloud computing services configured with a variety of software including Red Hat Linux, CentOS, Eucalyptus, Hadoop, SQL Server, and MySQL. A large-capacity DataDirect Networks storage system is available for standard and archival storage. CAC configured and operates a public cloud computing service called Red Cloud that offers unique features desired by researchers (i.e., dedicated cores/RAM and no charge for network traffic). Cornell campus networks are connected to multiple commodity providers, including Amazon, as well as a NSF-funded 100Gb links to Internet2 via NYSERNet at both the main campus and medical school.


On-premise systems are supported in the Cornell data center, located in Rhodes Hall on the Cornell campus in Ithaca. The data center consists of 10,000 square feet of raised-floor space, with a 300 KW UPS and 800 KW generator system for power backup, and 270 tons of chiller capacity. Data center access is by electronic badge only. Monitoring on a 24x7 basis is provided by Cornell IT staff.


CAC web, database, programming, and code improvement consulting services enable faculty to meet project milestones faster and more cost-effectively. CAC also develops Virtual Workshops that are “always on” so that Cornell educators and outreach specialists can reach wider communities. Center staff teach University classes such as High Performance Computing Tools and Concepts, Scripting in Python and Perl, Atmospheric Physics, and Computational Methods for Nonlinear Systems. Staff also conduct seminars on emerging computing technologies and present technical papers, presentations, and posters at national conferences.


Historic center firsts include: first of 5 U.S. supercomputing centers, first IBM SP1/SP2 supercomputer deployments, first Dell supercomputer deployment, largest Web server in the world deployed at the U.S. Olympics, best simulation of the folding of the protein HDEA from the bacteria E. coli, and first MATLAB Software as a Service.


Awards include: Computerworld/Smithsonian Laureate Award for the visionary use of information technology, Gordon Bell prizes for price/performance, IDC HPC Innovation Excellence Award for breakthrough research on hepatitis C, and Red Hat Innovation Award for best storage implementation.


CAC receives funding from the Cornell University Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, with additional funding from the NSF and leading public agencies, foundations, and corporations. Corporate Program participants include Boeing, Corning, DataDirect Networks, Dell, Eucalyptus, Globus Online, Intel, Johns Hopkins, and MathWorks. Seventy-seven organizations have participated in the Program since its inception.


Cornell faculty who use CAC resources currently have over $100 million in sponsored program research awards from the NSF, NIH, DOD, DOE, NASA, USDA, and other public and private funding agencies.


Source: Rich Knepper, PhD, Deputy Director, Cornell University Center for Advanced Computing

Date: June 22, 2021


Links to websites with additional information:

Specific CAC services - 

Cornell CyberCommons -

CAC flyer describing services for new faculty -