The state's two major research institutions,
Johns Hopkins University
and the University of Maryland, College Park
, are partnering to build a research and science center in East Baltimore opening September 2014. The state is spending $27 million and Hopkins is contributing $3 million toward the $30 million public/private venture whose goal is to make Maryland’s universities and private industry more competitive in the sciences.
The High Performance Research Computing Facility will consist of multiple buildings on land leased from Hopkins on its 350-acre Bayview Medical campus, at 4940 Eastern Ave. Expected to break ground in November, the center will be set off from other buildings and have its own separate entrance. The universities will finish site design this month and then bid the project to vendors.
While the facility is unique in Maryland, other states, notably Massachusetts and New York, have launched similar data centers. Hopkins' vice provost of research Scott Zeger says the facility will allow the two universities to compete in scientific fields. Last year, faculty and administrators at Johns Hopkins and UMCP formed a scientific governing group to oversee the facility.
“We are building a world-class facility,” he says, that will spur public/private partnerships in scientific research and hopefully create spinoff companies.
The High Performance Research Computing Facility will be used for fields whose solutions require “extreme computation,” says Zeger. These include big data, cybersecurity, language processing, genomics and molecular chemistry.
The center will consist of a small administrative building for the four to five people who will operate the facility and smaller buildings to hold the computing and storage equipment. The center will initially consist of one building to hold equipment but there is room on the site for up to five such structures.
Zeger says the construction of subsequent buildings depends on state funding, federal grants and partnerships with other universities in the region and private industry. The facility's operating cost is put at $3 million to $5 million per year, and Zeger expects partnerships and other funding to defray the cost.
According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, money for the project has been designated in the capital budgets for FY 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Source: Scott Zeger, Johns Hopkins University
Writer: Barbara Pash