I've been swamped with proposal work - the end of this week is a a major National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education submission deadline - and have not had a chance to write about the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center groundbreaking in Holyoke, MA held on October 5.
I've written about this project in the past - the idea was launched over a year ago by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Massachusetts, Harvard University, Boston University, and Northeastern University. Each school kicked in $10 million and Massachusetts kicked in $25 million from a state fund that provides money to improve roads and other public works to support economic development. At the groundbreaking both Cisco and EMC announced $2.5 million contributions to the project for a total of $80 million committed.
I've been fortunate to have been involved with the planning process (on a technician / workforce / education / economic development level) and it's been interesting to watch the process and progress of the center. Some said it would never happen but - the ground was broken a couple of weeks ago so...... it's happening!
The center has the potential to turn around the first industrially designed city in the U.S. Holyoke was built around a series of man-made canals extending from the Connecticut River that were designed to provide water power to run paper mills. Holyoke once had so many paper mills it's nickname was (and still is) "Paper City". Most of those mills shut down years ago but now - new life for an old New England mill town.
Governor Deval Patrick missed the ground breaking because he was out on Cape Cod, attending the funeral of PFC Clinton E. Springer II who had died in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 24.
The Governor did come to Holyoke after the funeral though and got the chance to attend a Town Meeting following the groundbreaking. We had John Reynolds there with his camera and he got some great video of the Holyoke Mayor Elaine A. Pluta and Governor Patrick.
I don't think I've ever been this excited about a technical project - computers, networks, high-performance research including microbiology, genetics, chemistry, physics..... all performed in a green environmentally friendly way. The economic development potential and the kinds of companies and people the center will attract are potentially huge. It will be very interesting to watch. Pretty cool stuff!
To see more pictures, here's a link to my October 5 event Flickr photo set.