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UA now home to massive supercomputer known as ‘El Gato’

PHOENIX — The University of Arizona is home to a new supercomputing system, thanks in part to a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

It’s called the Extremely Large Advanced Technology system, otherwise known as “El Gato.”

“El Gato was ranked as the 336th most powerful computer on Earth,” said Assistant Astronomy Professor Brant Robertson. “It’s about 150 teraflops of power.”

The power makes the machine a math whiz.

“A teraflop means that it can do one trillion additions or multiplications per second,” Robertson said. “So El Gato can do 150 times a trillion calculations per second.”

Robertson said El Gato is about the size of three refrigerators and astronomers will be using it to study a lot of things.

“We’re interested in the formation of galaxies,” he said. “We’re interested in the evolution of the universe, and large scale structures in the universe. We’re interested in the motions of gas within the galaxy, star formation, and matter on super massive black holes.”

Robertson said the astronomy department won’t be the only ones using El Gato.

“Thirty percent of the time, it will be available to anyone who does research at the University of Arizona,” he said, including both faculty and students.

El Gato was installed at the UA Research Data Center late last year.