University of Minnesota

“Driven to Discover,” the University of Minnesota places research at the center of priority alongside academics, ranking 9th among public universities in research spending at $800 million.

University of Minnesota has been at the forefront of innovations like the AIDS drug Ziagen and the “black box” flight recorder used widely in the aviation industry. In addition, school researchers have been responsible for medical “firsts” including the first open-heart surgery and pancreas and human bone marrow transplants. University of Minnesota looks to keep pace with some of the top research schools in the country.

The Problem

Identify and define the precise computing needs of University of Minnesota’s complex research community, and build a new advanced supercomputer to meet those needs. Industry knowledge is vital to the continued advancement of research, providing researchers the tools they need to make scientific breakthroughs and contribute to beneficial developments through the advancement of knowledge.

The Solution

University of Minnesota and Matrix integration deployed Hewlett Packard Enterprise hardware for the Mesabi supercomputer, adding a massive infrastructure with the memory capacity to effectively crunch the data.

The complex definition and design process engaged a broad segment of the school’s computing constituency and took more than a year to complete.

Installation included a distributed cluster featuring almost 17,000 computer cores integrated via a very high speed communication network. The school also purchased 1 PB of high-performance storage hardware, part of which will be used as scratch space, and the rest integrated into current home partitions. The system has an overall SSD capacity of 15 TB.

The Result

University of Minnesota researchers have found a powerful research tool in Mesabi. The supercomputer has identified a variety of research applications, particularly in the area of genetics research, which requires a great deal of processing of large quantities of DNA information. Mesabi’s ability to spot variations in genetic code is expected to contribute to breakthroughs that result in improved personalized cancer treatments. Researchers also see potential for Mesabi to assists university researchers in other applications, including astrophysics and other fields.



  • School identified computational needs of research community and built a new computer to meet those needs.
  • Researchers hope to extend research that has been at forefront of previous innovations.
  • “Mesabi” computer processes data for genetics research, has ability to spot variations in genetic code that may lead to improved cancer treatment.

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