Recovery Act funds high-availability computing center
|Gene Gozner (front) and Bruce Hosey (back), both of Cipher Ltd., work on the ducts that will eventually house high-voltage electric cable powering new computer equipment at the Feynman Computing Center.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is funding a $4.5 million project to build a high-availability computing center and to improve electric infrastructure at the Feynman Computing Center.
The first of four construction packages for the two-year project, which began in August, will double the electric capacity at the computing center and install a backup electric generator and other electric hardware. FESS engineer Tim Trout, who is supervising construction, said crews have finished about a quarter of the first stage.
Fermilab hired Pandecon Construction, of Aurora, as the primary subcontractor for the project. Local sub-tier contractors will lay down cables and install the hardware that will eventually carry high-voltage electricity from the switchyard to a transformer outside of the Feynman Computing Center.
Yorkville resident Bruce Hosey, an electrician for Aurora-based Cipher Ltd., said the project will provide much-needed work.
"Business has been really slow," Hosey said. "There are other jobs, but it's very slim pickings."
Depending on the day, between two and six employees from construction company Don Bohr & Sons will work at the site to excavate, pour concrete and help install electrical hardware for the next few months.
"It's a medium-sized project, so it will keep some of our guys busy," said Dan Bohr, one of the owners of Don Bohr & Sons.
When first-stage work completes in January, construction crews will prepare an existing space on the third floor of the Feynman Computing Center to house 72 racks of new computer equipment.
FESS engineer Steve Dixon, who manages the project, said current electric limitations have limited growth at the computing center. The electric system improvements will address those limitations.
"Computing Division employees have already had to cut back on some of the work they were doing," Dixon said. "It's a needed upgrade."
CD's Gerald Bellendir and Adam Walters said the expansion would essentially double the power infrastructure of computing equipment at Feynman Computing Center.
-- Chris Knight
Visit Fermilab's Recovery Act Web site.