The University at Buffalo will receive $1 million from New York state to make its downtown Buffalo supercomputing center more accessible to businesses in Western New York and beyond.
The award, announced Wednesday through Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council initiative, will fund the purchase of computer servers, software and other components for the Center for Computational Research.
UB will make those resources available to industry, such as Sentient Science, IBC Digital, CUBRC, Empire Visual Effects and other companies looking to innovate through high-performance computing and big-data analytics.
Specifically, the funding will:
•Provide industry in Western New York and New York state with access to dedicated advanced computing resources to foster innovation and economic development.
•Provide the same partners with the expertise necessary to leverage high-performance computing and big-data analytic resources to improve productivity and assist in new product development.
•Support the activities of UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, the New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, and other industries that develop around these organizations.
•Support the activities of the New York State High Performance Computing Consortium, a program of Empire State Development's NYSTAR initiative.
Cuomo, who created the Regional Economic Development Council initiative in 2011, said the program has redesigned the state's economic development efforts from a top-down model to a community-based, performance-driven approach.
"In the last three years, we have put New York's fiscal house in order by controlling spending and cutting taxes, and the global business community has taken notice. We are transforming New York state into a top destination for companies from around the world to locate, invest and grow with initiatives like START-UP NY to provide tax-free areas and support to businesses," he said.
Alexander N. Cartwright, UB vice president for research and economic development, said the funding will allow UB to acquire resources that will greatly improve the center's ability to assist local and state businesses innovate and develop new products.
"With this award, CCR will provide our regional and New York state industrial partners with on-demand, immediate access to high-performance computing and data-analytics resources (hardware, software and consulting services) that will improve productivity, assist in new product development, foster innovation and economic development," he said. "We'd like to thank Gov. Cuomo for leadership in recognizing how these resources will give our industrial partners the competitive advantage they need in the global marketplace."
Home of the region's largest computing system - and one the largest in the state - the CCR is located in UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, 701 Ellicott St., within the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It already is helping attract business, such as software and sensor company Sentient Science, to Western New York.
"Not every company can support the advanced computing infrastructure or expert personnel that's required in some industries for innovative product development," said Thomas Furlani, CCR director. "As a result, many are at a competitive disadvantage; it takes them longer and costs more to bring new products to the marketplace.
"In addition to supporting faculty-led research at UB, one of CCR's main goals is to promote economic development, especially in Western New York," Furlani said. "These resources will enable us to help business foster innovation, enable rational design and reduce the time it takes to develop products, all of which are necessary to be competitive in today's world-based economy."
The center's importance to economic development and basic research will only grow, Furlani said, as the medical campus expands and the region continues to pivot more toward a high-tech, advanced manufacturing-based economy. It also will play a vital role in the Center for Excellence in Materials Informatics, which, among other things, seeks to develop and commercialize new materials for manufacturing and industry.
The funding is among more than $60 million that Cuomo awarded to Western New York-based endeavors on Wednesday. UB President Satish K. Tripathi and local businessman Howard A. Zemsky are co-chairs of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. Nearly $716 million was awarded statewide Wednesday.