Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center

Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) is an intercollegiate high-performance computing facility located in Holyoke, Massachusetts, connected to that city's municipal fiber grid and powered by Holyoke Gas and Electric via the Holyoke Canal System and Dam.[2][3][lower-alpha 1] MGHPCC is a joint venture of Boston University, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, and the University of Massachusetts system;[4] the facility holds the capacity for hundreds of thousands of cores in clusters provided by its affiliates.[5] For example, as of 2016 one cluster used by UMass contained a network of 14,376 cores, both Intel and AMD, and more than 1.1 petabytes of on-site storage on an FDR Infiniband network.[6] The facility maintains capacity for regular expansion, with key partners investing capability upgrades in the current building and more than 4 acres of additional undeveloped space.[7][8]

Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center
The main facilities of the MGHPCC
Research typeMultiprogram
Field of research
Physical science
Life science
Environmental science
Energy science
Data science
Computational science
DirectorJohn Goodhue
Board Chairman
Robert A. Brown (2011–)
Address100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA 01040
LocationHolyoke, Massachusetts, USA
42°12′9.0756″N 72°36′28.5588″W
Campus8.6 acres[1]


The Center was first planned in early 2009 in joint discussions between MIT and UMass, with UMass President Jack M. Wilson being a key proponent of the project, and its eventual founding chair. Boston University, Northeastern, and Harvard joined the planning process soon thereafter. Holyoke was selected as the location on June 11, 2009. The specific site was announced on August 9, 2010; a century ago the site had housed a textile mill.[9] Ground was broken on October 5, 2011. The topping off ceremony occurred on November 29, 2011.[10] The facility was completed in November 2012.[11]


Funding for the construction of the facility came first and foremost from the five university partners.[12] The state of Massachusetts pledged $25 million toward associated costs.[13] Additional support came from Cisco Systems, and EMC Corporation. The U.S. Department of Commerce spent $2.1 million on hydroelectric infrastructure improvements to support the center and similar businesses in the city's Innovation District.[14]


Holyoke Gas and Electric partnered with the consortium to do the site selection and to contract for the provision of green power from their hydroelectric facilities. Between 2011-2013, Holyoke Gas and Electric constructed the new North Canal Substation located on Water Street which provides the electrical service for the computer center via two dedicated 34.5 kv feeders directly from the substation's 34.5 kv bus. The MGHPCC shares the 34.5 kv bus exclusively with the Hadley Falls Hydro Electric station, the largest of HG&E's hydro facilities, which creates a direct power path to the computing center from the Hadley Falls plant. Two 115kv/34.5 kv transformers at the substation connect the bus to the transmission system and provide electricity from the grid to the computing center when the hydro plant is offline or generating less power than the computing center is using. These transformers also function to deliver excess power to the grid when the Hadley Falls station is producing more output than what the computing center is using.

Holyoke's municipal fiber optic network network would also play a decisive role in the location of the computing center, and with its construction, a dedicated link 10gbps was built for the facility's educational affiliates on specialized networks such as the Internet2 consortium.[2][15]


The MGHPCC facilities have been used for a wide variety of applications including,[16] but not limited to, advanced iterative methods for modeling molecular geometry,[17][18] the behavior of stellar wind,[19], ecological resilience of renewable energy systems,[20], and neural circuitry.[21] The facility also serves as a data processing center for a commercial and academic partnership hosted by Boston University known as Mass Open Cloud, a collaborative project to create a novel decentralized public cloud based on the Open Cloud eXchange [sic] model.[22][23]


  1. According to Sharma et al. (2017), 66.7% of its ≈400 annual mWh power consumption came from hydroelectric power provided by Holyoke Gas & Electric in 2017, and including the remaining nuclear, solar, and other carbon-free contracted sources more than 94% of this demand was carbon-neutral


  1. "Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center". Boston University. Archived from the original on October 24, 2018.
  2. "Utility Infrastructure and Environmental Remediation- Telecommunication Infrastructure". MGHPCC. Archived from the original on February 16, 2018.
  3. Sharma, Prateek; Pegus, Patrick; Irwin, David; Shenoy, Prashant; Goodhue, John; Culbert, James (27 July 2017). "Design and Operational Analysis of a Green Data Center". IEEE Internet Computing. XXI (4). doi:10.1109/MIC.2017.2911421.
  4. "High-tech computing center on track", Boston Globe, October 22, 2009
  5. "FAQs". MGHPCC. Archived from the original on October 24, 2018.
  6. "University Research Computing- Architecture". University of Massachusetts Office of the President. Archived from the original on July 18, 2016.
  7. "For bigger data, more storage". The Harvard Gazette. November 28, 2016. Archived from the original on September 29, 2018.
  8. Property Map, City of Holyoke. Mapgeo.
  9. "Mass. schools team up for supercomputer center", Washington Times, October 9, 2011
  10. SuperComputer Center 'Topped Off', Harvard Crimson, November 30, 2011
  11. "ABOUT | MGHPCC". Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  12. "Partners | MGHPCC". Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  13. "Mass. pledges $25M for Holyoke computing center", Mass High Tech, March 29, 2010
  14. Department of Commerce press release, August 24, 2011
  15. "Why Holyoke?". MGHPCC. Archived from the original on February 16, 2018.
  16. "A selection of research using the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center". MGHPCC. Archived from the original on October 29, 2018.
  17. Styers, John M.; Gamache, Robert (2014). "Explicit Parallelization of Robert-Bonamy Formalism". 13th International HITRAN Conference. Cambridge, Mass. doi:10.5281/zenodo.11186.
  18. Bores, Cecilia; Auerbach, Scott M.; Monson, Peter A. "Enhanced replica exchange reactive Monte Carlo simulations for constructing zeolite frameworks". Molecular Simulation. XLIV (6). doi:10.1080/08927022.2017.1399375.
  19. Offner; Liu (2018). "Turbulent Action at a Distance due to Stellar Feedback in Magnetized Clouds" (PDF). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. Ray, Patrick A; Bonzanigo, Laura; Wi, Sungwook; Yang, Yi-Chen E; Karki, Pravin; Garcia, Luis E; Rodriguez, Diego J; Brown, Casey M (January 2018). "Multidimensional stress test for hydropower investments facing climate, geophysical and financial uncertainty". Global Environmental Change. XLVIII: 168–181. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2017.11.013.
  21. Mathis, Alexander; Rokni, Dan; Kapoor, Vikrant; Bethge, Matthias; Murthy, Venkatesh N (September 7, 2016). "Reading Out Olfactory Receptors: Feedforward Circuits Detect Odors in Mixtures without Demixing". Neuron. XCI (5). doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2016.08.007. PMC 5035545.
  22. "About". Mass Open Cloud. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  23. Gronberg, Ray (June 21, 2018). "Kids across the world likely don't know Red Hat, but it's working for them". The News&Observer. Raleigh. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018.

Further reading

  • Sharma, Prateek; Pegus, Patrick; Irwin, David; Shenoy, Prashant; Goodhue, John; Culbert, James (27 July 2017). "Design and Operational Analysis of a Green Data Center". IEEE Internet Computing. XXI (4). doi:10.1109/MIC.2017.2911421.
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