MSU paves the way for new high-performance computing data center

MSU officials conduct groundbreaking ceremonial for a new data center
Mississippi State University officials broke ground Tuesday [May 23] on a new 35,000 square foot high-performance computing data center. Celebrating the occasion, from left, is Leigh Jaunsen, managing partner of Dale Partners Architects; Julie Jordan, MSU vice president of research and economic development; Mike Navicky, director of the MSU High Performance Computing Collaboration; MSU President Mark E. Keenum; Trey Breckenridge, MSU’s interim Chief Technology Transformation Officer; Don Zant, vice president for finance and administration at MSU; MSU Associate Vice President of Administration Les Potts; Dale Partners Architects Partners Jason Agostinelli; Mike Lum, West Brothers construction project manager; Dale Partners Architects Project architect Will Commarato; and West Brothers on-site construction superintendent Jim Shackelford. (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss. Mississippi State University is paving the way for a new building that will soon house groundbreaking discoveries.

University officials celebrated the start of construction on Tuesday [May 23] for the new High Performance Computing data center in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park. The 35,000-square-foot, $45 million building will further expand MSU’s nationally recognized capabilities in high-performance computing.

Today marks an important step for the future of our university and our state as we build the kind of facility that can keep us at the forefront of high-performance computing for years to come, said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. I want to thank our state leaders and the Mississippi Legislature for their support of this project, as well as federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the United States Department of Agriculture who have made instrumental investments in computer resources at MSU. As we celebrate this milestone, I look forward to seeing this building filled with even more powerful computers that are helping researchers drive innovation.

As an institution, MSU ranks fifth in academic supercomputing ability in the United States, according to rankings released this week by TOP500. MSU hosts two NOAA-funded systems, Orion and Hercules, which are among the top 20 supercomputers hosted in an academic setting. They are both in the top 500 fastest supercomputers in the world, with Orion at no. 172 in the updated list and Hercules at no. 411. As a state, Mississippi ranks fourth nationally in the number of supercomputer systems.

A rendering of the new High Performance Computing data center project

Managed by MSU’s High Performance Computing Collaboratory, MSU scientists use supercomputers to rapidly conduct large-scale analysis that would not be feasible on smaller systems. Computing power supports research in artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, biotechnology, cybersecurity, data science, weather modeling, and other areas.

MSU’s history in high-performance computing dates back to 1990, when the university was selected to establish an NSF engineering research center focused on modeling and simulation. The center has been leveraged to create self-sustaining, computer-based research programs that advance scientific knowledge and support key Mississippian economic sectors such as agriculture, automotive, manufacturing, and defense.

Investments in high-performance computing at MSU have consistently created significant scientific and economic impacts, said Vice President for Research and Economic Development Julie Jordan. I know these impacts will only grow as we expand our ability to help solve some of society’s most pressing challenges.

The data center was designed by Dale Partners Architects and West Brothers Construction will serve as the general contractor. The building is expected to be finished in 2025.

For more information about the MSU High Performance Computing Collaboratory, visit

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