Kansas interagency cooperation finds computer equipment new home, will boost research and education across the state
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019
MANHATTAN — Kansas State University will use $10 million in surplus computer equipment from the state of Kansas in support of research and education at the university and across Kansas. The hardware also will assist with technology issues caused by the May 22, 2018, Hale Library fire.
"The computer hardware provides the university with needed backup IT support and the computational and storage capabilities needed for research," said Gary Pratt, chief information officer.
The equipment was recently delivered and will be put into use in the coming months with Beocat, the university's high-performance computing cluster, and with the KanShare cyberinfrastructure initiative.
"I'm pleased that we were able to work together to address a challenge facing Kansas State University," said Gov. Laura Kelly. "The unused state IT equipment will now provide support and additional resources to our schools and higher education institutions thanks to this partnership."
KanShare is open to all Kansas academic institutions, both public and private in higher education and at the K-12 level, as well as to all of the state's federal, state and local government agencies. It allows access to cyberinfrastructure for research and education.
Researchers at Kansas Board of Regents institutions use Beocat to share large data with collaborators around the world. Beocat is housed in the computer science department in the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering.
"Along with providing the technology to significantly strengthen our high-performance computing environment, the addition of this equipment also will help our students become more competitive in the areas of cybersecurity, bioinformatics and deep learning," said Dan Andresen, who oversees Beocat. Andresen is a professor of computer science and director of the Institute for Computational Research in Engineering and Science.
"This is a win-win for the state, Kansas State University, and research and education interests across Kansas," Pratt said. "We thank Gov. Laura Kelly, the Office of Information Technology Services and Lee Allen, the state's chief information technology officer, for making this acquisition possible."
"I am thrilled that this partnership between Kansas agencies will lead to increased capabilities for educational and cybersecurity programs statewide," Allen said. "When the opportunity came about to not only help the university but improve their capabilities in such a vital field of study, we were happy to work together."
The equipment had previously been purchased by state Office of Information Technology Services to consolidate and modernize the data centers in the Topeka area; however, the project was canceled due to a lack of adequate facilities needed to place the equipment into service. Following this decision, the state released an RFP for any interested buyers to purchase the equipment with no respondents. The agency has since paid off the balance of the agreement, allowing for the interagency transfer of the equipment to the university.