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Rhodes Hall

Founded July 1, 2007 to better reflect the University's commitment to large-scale computing, the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing supercedes the Cornell Theory Center which was established in 1985 under the direction of Nobel Laureate and supercomputing visionary Kenneth Wilson.

Cornell's leadership in high-performance computing was made possible by the dedicated Theory Center staff who were part of its mission. The goal of the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing is to carry forward this tradition of excellence in research computing.

Cornell Awards and Innovations

  • CAC launches its first eCornell Certificate: Data Visualization in Tableau
  • Cornell partners in NSF grant for astrophysics institute
  • Cornell Chairs 1st NSF Data infrastructure Building Blocks PI Workshop (Final Report)
  • $8.2 million NSF award to build a federated cloud computing model known as the Aristotle Cloud Federation (2015-2020)
  • Developing on-demand cloud training for national research community (NSF/Indiana University Jetstream program partner)
  • 175x faster computation of CDC hepatitis C model on CAC MATLAB cloud ranked among top 50 innovations in the last decade and featured in Prelude to What the Exascale Era Can Provide report.
  • Mentors Lecture Hall in Gates Hall named by Rohan N. Murty, in honor of Professors Ken Birman, Mary Katzenstein, Emin Gun Sirer, and CAC director, Dr. David Lifka
  • Red Hat Innovation Award for best storage implementation
  • IDC HPC Innovation Excellence Award sponsored by the Council on Competitiveness, DOD, DOE, NSF, and industry
  • National Science Foundation’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) partner
  • First parallel MATLAB computing SaaS
  • New York State Grid (NYSGrid) founding institution
  • Best Collaboration with Government & Industry Award (HPCwire)
  • $25 million Gates Foundation grant to Cornell University for new Faculty of Computing & Information Science (CIS) building. Bill and Melinda Gates Hall opened in 2014.
  • First Northeast member of National LamdaRail high-speed computer network
  • Microsoft Technical Computing Initiative awards
  • Dell Centers for Research Excellence Award
  • Largest, single corporate-sponsored research grant in Cornell's history for Microsoft Solutions center
  • Computerworld/Smithsonian Award to the Center & the Advanced Cluster Computing Consortium (AC3) for uniting industry OEMs, ISVs, and users to advance HPC
  • Intel Architecture Lab Award for Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability (RAS) project
  • First Financial Industry Solutions Center (FISC) focused on using HPC to manage financial risk
  • First parallel job scheduler for Windows (commercially licensed)
  • Intel Technology for Education grant to develop first cluster computing tools for Windows
  • Gordon Bell Prizes for Price-Performance (including industry project with Corning)
  • In mid-1990’s, Cornell proposed to Dell executives an idea to catapult Dell into the server business by designing and deploying the company’s first high-performance computing cluster. Subsequently, the first HPC system ever developed by Dell and to make the “Top 500” list was deployed at Cornell. Dell’s entry into the HPC market helped to expand the OEM options for research IT and scientific computing.
  • First parallel version of MATLAB (MultiMATLAB) architected with the MATLAB product
  • Best simulation of the folding of the protein HDEA from the bacterium E. coli (CASP competition) using NIH-funded Parallel Processing Resource for Biomedical Applications
  • Participation in the largest distributed Web server in the world built to deliver real-time results for 37 sports at the 1996 Atlanta Winter Olympics using custom “home pages”
  • Launched the Cornell Virtual Workshop in 1995, one of the first Web-based training platforms
  • Red Hat got its name from founder Marc Ewing who wore a red Cornell University lacrosse hat, given to him by his grandfather, while attending CMU
  • First & fastest IBM Scalable POWERparallel System SP2 supercomputer deployment (serial number 1)
  • First IBM Scalable POWERparallel System SP1 supercomputer deployment; IBM's main beta test site
  • Major New York State grant which drove the construction of Frank H.T. Rhodes Hall
  • Deployed an IBM 3090–600E and coupled it with a second 3090–600E to investigate course-grained parallel computing
  • First IBM 3090-400VF in production outside IBM
  • Deployed an IBM 3084QX, along with vector capability on a FPS-164/MAX and parallel pipeline computation on FPS-264s
  • First of five National Science Foundation supercomputing centers established by Nobel Laureate Kenneth Wilson who inspired the scientific community with the notion that computation is equal with theory and experiment in scientific inquiry. Wilson was among the first to use the term “Grand Challenge Problems” to describe “fundamental problems in science and engineering that have broad economic and/or scientific impact and whose solution can be advanced by applying high performance computing techniques and resources” (R. Tapia et al.). Wilson and others also coined the term “computational science” to refer to the search for new discoveries using computation as the main method. This idea was so powerful that it led to the U.S. Congress passing into law the High Performance Computing and Communication Initiative to stimulate scientific innovations through high-performance computation (P. Denning).

In addition, "The History of Computing at Cornell University" by John W. Rudin tells the fascinating story of campus-wide computing from the 1920's to 2005.


Organizations from around the globe have benefited from the leadership and advanced computing skills of Center alumni.

Industry employers include Blackboard, Bloomberg, Boeing, Cisco Systems, GeoDecisions, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, L3, LeaseWeb, Machine Vision Consulting, Microsoft, MITRE, Moody’s, MRE Consulting, Pfizer, Qualcomm, RedGiant Analytics, SAS, Sita, SunGard, United Educators, and Wind River Systems.

University employers in the US include Arizona State, Duke University, Iowa State, NYU, Oregon State, Penn State, San Diego State, Stanford University, Syracuse University, University of California-Davis, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Minnesota, University of Texas-Austin, and Washington University-St. Louis.

International employers include Cambridge University, Nanyang Technological University-Singapore, National Taiwan University, Oxford University, Pierre and Marie Curie University-Paris, Royal Institute of Technology-Stockholm, University of Basel, and the University of Waterloo.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NERSC, SLAC National Accelerator, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service are among the national laboratories that have employed our alumni.

In Memoriam: Kenneth Wilson

Kenneth Wilson

Center founder, supercomputing visionary, and Nobel Laureate Kenneth Wilson passed away on June 15, 2013.