Cornell University Center for Advanced Computing

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The Cornell University Center for Advanced Computing (CAC), housed at Frank H.T. Rhodes Hall on the campus of Cornell University, is one of five original centers in the National Science Foundation's Supercomputer Centers Program. It was formerly called the Cornell Theory Center.


The CTC was established in 1985 under the direction of Cornell Physics professor Kenneth G. Wilson. In 1984, the National Science Foundation began work on establishing five new supercomputer centers, including the CTC, to provide high-speed computing resources for research within the United States. In 1985, a team from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications began the development of NSFNet, a TCP/IP-based computer network that could connect to the ARPANET, at the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This high-speed network, unrestricted to academic users, became a backbone to which regional networks would be connected. Initially a 56-kbit/s network, traffic on the network grew exponentially; the links were upgraded to 1.5-Mbit/s T1s in 1988 and to 45 Mbit/s in 1991. The NSFNet was a major milestone in the development of the Internet and its rapid growth coincided with the development of the World Wide Web.[1][2] In the mid 1990s, in addition to support from the National Science Foundation, the CTC received funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Institutes of Health, New York State, IBM Corporation, and other members of the center's Corporate Research Institute.[3]


CAC and its predecessor CTC have achieved a number of firsts, including deploying the first Dell supercomputer and the first IBM Scalable POWERparallel System SP2 supercomputer, installing the first parallel version of MATLAB (MultiMATLAB) designed with the MATLAB product, and running the first parallel job scheduler for Windows.[4]

Today, CAC is a partner on the National Science Foundation eXtreme Digital (XD) program, currently the most comprehensive collection of integrated digital resources and services enabling open science research in the world. CAC is also developing cloud computing training for the national research community under the NSF-funded Jetstream program.

Recently, a 175 times faster computation of a CDC hepatitis C model on a CAC MATLAB cloud ranked among the top 50 innovations of the decade and was featured in the International Data Corporation's 2014 Prelude to What the Exascale Era Can Provide report.[5] Other recent CAC awards include the Red Hat Innovation Award for best storage implementation and an IDC HPC Innovation Award sponsored by the Council on Competitiveness, DOD, DOE, NSF, and industry. CAC was an early implementer of cloud computing with the deployment of Red Cloud used by academe and industry. CAC also designed and deployed one of the first HIPAA-based clouds called Red Cloud Secure.

Under the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, CAC serves Cornell faculty, staff, and students, the national research community, and industry. Over 75 companies have participated in CAC's Corporate Program, accelerating research discovery and supporting education at one of the world's leading research universities, including Boeing, Corning, and MathWorks. Several start-ups leveraging CAC services and expertise have subsequently been purchased by Fortune 1000 companies.


  1. ^ "The Internet - The Launch of NSFNET". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 2006-01-05. 
  2. ^ "A Brief History of NSF and the Internet". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 2006-01-05. 
  3. ^ Cornell Theory Center, from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing
  4. ^ "History". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  5. ^ "Real-World Examples of Supercomputers Used For Economic and Societal Benefits: A Prelude to What the Exascale Era Can Provide" (PDF). International Data Corporation. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 

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