MRI: Acquisition of FASTER - Fostering Accelerated Sciences Transformation Education and Research Grant uri icon


  • The project funds the acquisition of a composable high-performance data-analysis and computing instrument, named FASTER (Fostering Accelerated Scientific Transformations, Education, and Research). FASTER will enable transformative advances in scientific fields that rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) techniques, big data practices, and high-performance computing (HPC) technologies. The FASTER platform removes significant bottlenecks in research computing by leveraging a technology that can dynamically allocate resources to support workflows. It will support researchers from across the Texas A&M University System and their collaborating institutions. Thirty percent of FASTER?s computing resources will also be allocated to researchers nationwide by the National Science Foundation (NSF) XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) program. FASTER?s composable interface allows it to simultaneously support both emerging and traditional workloads in research computing. Transformative research projects benefiting from FASTER will include the development of AI/ML models, cybersecurity, health population informatics, genomics, bioinformatics, computer-aided drug design, agricultural sciences, life sciences, oil and gas simulations, de novo materials design, climate modeling, multi-scale simulations, quantum computing architectures, biomedical imaging, geosciences, and quantum chemistry. In addition to supporting a wide-range of fields of research, the project contributes to code development, education, and the workforce development goals of several NSF Big Ideas. FASTER adopts the innovative Liqid composable software-hardware approach combined with cutting-edge technologies such as state of the art CPUs and GPUs, NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) based storage, and thigh speed interconnect. Workflows on FASTER will be able to dynamically integrate disaggregated GPUs and NVMe to compose a single node, allowing them to scale beyond traditional hardware limits. The composable and configurable techniques will allow researchers to use resources efficiently, enabling more science. Best practices gathered from managing the resource will be shared with the community. FASTER will coordinate a three-pronged effort to effectively broaden participation in computing by focusing on training, education and outreach. FASTER will leverage existing efforts that promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and broaden participation in computing at the K-12, collegiate, and professional levels to have a transformative impact nationally. FASTER activities are designed to expand the participation of traditionally underrepresented groups in computing and STEM, particularly at minority-serving institutions. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

date/time interval

  • 2020 - 2023