The National Institute for Computational Sciences

About NICS

The National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is one of the leading high performance computing centers for excellence in the United States. NICS is co-located on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus as well as in the Secret City of Oak Ridge, on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Campus (ORNL), the world’s most powerful computing complex. The center’s missions is to expand the boundaries of human understanding while ensuring the United States' continued leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

NICS strives to accomplish this mission by facilitating transformational scientific discovery by providing scientists and researchers from around the world with leadership-class high-performance computing resources, facilities, and support. In 2007, with the benefit of a $65M award from NSF, NICS was established. Since that time, NICS has won many awards for their excellence in computing, leadership, and outstanding research.

NICS’s flagship computing system, Kraken, the first academic computer to break the petaflop barrier, enabled researchers in numerous scientific arenas, from climate to materials science to astrophysics, to achieve breakthroughs not yet possible on other resources. The Cray XT5 with peak performance of 1.17 petaflops, 112,896 compute cores, 147 TB of compute memory, 3.3 PB of raw parallel file system disk storage space, and 9,408 compute nodes, climbed as high as #3 on the Top 500 List and that was only the beginning for what is to come from NICS. NICS is now home to six cutting-edge high-performance computing resources.

As a partner of the NSF’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) community, NICS is at the forefront of computational science and cyberinfrastucture initiatives. XSEDE supports the most advanced, powerful, and robust collection of integrated digital resources and services in the world. In addition, NICS works closely with the academic community and industry partners to streamline new developments for computing architectures and software technologies.