University Announces Major New High-Performance Computing Cluster Propelling Development as a Top-Tier Research Institution

Technology giant Switch provides critical data ecosystem infrastructure to power new University of Nevada, Reno cluster

RENO, Nev. – The University of Nevada, Reno today unveiled development of a new, user-driven, high-performance computing cluster that will boost research capacity and better support the latest research applications such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, computational biology and neurosciences, bioinformatics and big data.

The significant new cluster will offer 30 times more computing power than the University’s existing, high-performance system. It will put the University’s computing infrastructure among those in place at many of the nation’s leading research institutions.

The project funding is supported by the University along with funding through the State of Nevada Knowledge Fund, which is facilitated by the Governor’s Office for Economic Development and awarded to the Nevada Center for Applied Research (NCAR), and a donation from long-time University supporter and groundbreaking researcher Mick Hitchcock.

To drive the technology and research advancement, the University partnered with Switch, a global technology company and leader in the design and operation of advanced data centers. Switch is providing more than $3.4 million in critical technology infrastructure support services through space, power and security for five years at Switch TAHOE RENO, The Citadel Campus.

“High-performance computing is critical for modern research and scientific discovery,” University President Marc Johnson said. “The impact of this will be multi-dimensional; it will allow for faster analysis and exchange of large scientific datasets. It will contribute to deeper discovery across a range of research disciplines University-wide and to development of industry partnerships.”

“Making Nevada the most connected state and driving economic development through technology and data analytics are critical priorities that Switch shares with the University of Nevada, Reno,” said Switch Executive Vice President for Strategy Adam Kramer. “This collaborative project will cement the University’s commitment to strengthen its status as a top-level research university and its ability to partner with the private sector.”

“We are again seeing individuals, organizations and industry pull together to enhance the capabilities of the University, our faculty and students, and our region’s economy,” Johnson said. “The technology infrastructure support of Switch sets the foundation, and project support through GOED and Dr. Hitchcock further demonstrates a shared vision to advance the global competitiveness of Nevada.”

Known as Pronghorn, the new research-computing cluster is named after the American antelope, the fastest mammal on the North American continent. It is expected to be available for beta-use in late fall 2017 and fully implemented by January 2018.

Pronghorn will have impact across fields of research and scholarship, from the natural and social sciences, to the technology, scientific, engineering and mathematics fields.

“Increasing our computational and modeling capability will allow faculty to better exchange, analyze and store data, and more effectively collaborate at an international level,” said University Vice President for Research and Innovation Mridul Gautam.

Dell EMC has been selected as the vendor for the high-end support hardware that will allow high-speed network communications and connectivity.

“The idea is to build an infrastructure with enough capacity so we have what we need with additional ‘head room’ for future development,” said University Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer Steve Smith.

Industry access to Pronghorn will be coordinated through NCAR, the applied research and development technology center that makes the facilities, equipment and talent of the University available to industry through customized, fee-for-service contracts. Partnerships developed through NCAR demonstrate a tangible connection to the University, such as a research collaboration. NCAR is also supported through the Knowledge Fund.

“Each of the partners behind this initiative understands that investment of their talent or resources in our infrastructure – in this case, our high-end computing infrastructure will be leveraged in many ways,” Gautam said. “This is a tangible milestone toward this University’s commitment to continue to enhance the research enterprise.”

ABOUT Switch
Founded in 2000, this technology infrastructure company, headquartered in Las Vegas, is built on the intelligent and sustainable growth of the internet. Switch founder and CEO Rob Roy has developed over 350 issued and pending patent claims covering data center designs that have manifested into the company’s world-renowned data centers and technology solution ecosystems. Visit for more information.

ABOUT University of Nevada, Reno
Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno ranks in the top tier of best national universities by U.S. News and World Report and is steadily growing in enrollment, excellence and reputation. The University serves more than 21,000 students. Through a commitment to world-improving research, student success and outreach benefiting the communities and businesses of Nevada, the University has impact across the state and around the world. For more information, visit