High-Performance Computing

Founded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1985 as one of the nation’s first academic supercomputer centers, SDSC’s mission has since evolved and expanded. For more than 35 years, SDSC has focused on providing advanced computational resources and the expertise required to tailor those resources to accelerate research and discovery at the local, state and national levels, while spanning academia, industry and government.

SDSC is committed to remaining at the forefront of high-performance computing (HPC) and innovating new processes to make scientific research more efficient and robust in what has become an ever-increasing collaborative community.

Former long-time SDSC Director Michael Norman referred to the shift in HPC from generating data to taking in data from multiple sources for analysis as the fourth paradigm of scientific research. “This change in how modern science is conducted has informed us about what a contemporary supercomputer center should be doing and the kind of resources it should be deploying,” he said.

According to Norman, SDSC’s machines, like Voyager and Expanse, are redefining the very nature of scientific computing, but so are the people behind them.

Centers of Excellence

SDSC has created a number of “Centers of Excellence.” These are part of a larger strategic focus to help researchers across all domains—including those who are relatively new to computational science—better manage ever-increasing volumes of digitally based information. These centers formalize key elements of SDSC’s wide range of expertise, from “big data” management to the analysis and advancement of the Internet.

SDSC’s Centers of Excellence:


SDSC provides a wide range of software applications installed on the production computing platforms. Ranging from finite element codes to state-of-the-art visualization packages, these applications are available to any researcher who has a computing allocation at SDSC. 

HPC Systems

For over 30 years, SDSC has led the way in deploying and supporting cutting-edge high performance computing systems for a wide range of users, from the campus to the national research community. From the earliest Cray systems to today’s data-intensive systems, SDSC has focused on providing innovative architectures designed to keep pace with the changing needs of science and engineering.

Parallel File Systems

At the heart of SDSC’s high performance computing systems is the high-performance, scalable, Data Oasis Lustre-based parallel file system. 

Parallelization & Code Optimization

SDSC's HPC scientific applications experts can take your serial code running on a single CPU and spread the work across multiple CPUs, or further optimize it to make more efficient use of high-performance resources.

Science Portals & Science Gateways

Science Gateways is a community-developed set of tools, applications and data that are integrated through a web-based portal or a suite of applications. They provide scientists with access to many of the tools used in cutting-edge research—telescopes, seismic shake tables, supercomputers, sky surveys, undersea sensors and more. Such gateways connect often diverse resources and make them easily accessible in ways that save researchers and institutions time and money.