ENMU connects to state supercomputer

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

Eastern New Mexico University connected with the state’s Supercomputing Center Monday in a demonstration the governor attended via the Internet.

The demonstration was held in the computer center on campus, which was digitally connected with eight other universities and colleges in the state and to the governor’s cabinet room.

“Now New Mexicans will have the ability to tap into this tremendous power and build growth,” Gov. Bill Richardson said. “We’re connecting New Mexico in a way that will work to growing a high-tech and high-wage economy that is needed for our workforce, and all of this is aimed at creating high wage jobs in the state.”

ENMU Professor of Art Greg Erf said he thinks the computer is great.

“I have students who work on 3-D projects and the ability to get them to think outside the box,” Erf said. “I see my students working with Intel or the supercomputing folks to have them compile their projects they’ve been working on and sending their files to Intel, who can render their projects and send them back.”

Erf said students can be taught by professionals who can give them an idea of what it means to work on a project and work with another institution to execute that project.

In the celebration of the naming of the supercomputer’s gateway sites, Richardson said eight of 33 planned gateway sites were being launched throughout the state Monday.

The eight sites were at University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, ENMU’s Portales and Roswell campuses, Western New Mexico University, Santa Fe Community College and San Juan College. Over the next two months, more gateways are expected be added to the supercomputer at Intel Corporation in Rio Rancho.

Richardson said the supercomputer, named Encanto, can process 172 trillion calculations per second and is the fastest public supercomputer in the world. The supercomputer is designed to solve complex problems and become a resource for growing New Mexico business and attracting other business to the state, he said.

ENMU Dean of Fine Arts Joseph Kline said the university has a concentration of digital cinema arts.

“It is easy to see how we can use this kind of technology,” Kline said “I am very excited about it. Everything at the university is geared toward giving students a chance to use new technology.”