When Milwaukee School of Engineering students learned last fall that the school would be getting a supercomputer, the announcement elicited audible gasps of excitement.

News of the addition to their campus – a graphics processing unit-accelerated supercomputer from Silicon Valley tech giant Nvidia Corp. – had the wheels in students’ heads already turning about its computational capabilities.

“This is definitely where the future is heading,” said freshman Jonathan Cobb.

It was part of a larger announcement, as officials unveiled plans to build a new computational science hall in the center of campus, thanks to a $34 million gift from alumnus Dwight Diercks and his wife, Dian.

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