Provost Peggy Agouris sent the following message to the campus community on Oct. 17, 2023. – Ed.

Dear W&M community,

President Rowe and I were delighted to join federal and state officials yesterday at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab or JLab) in Newport News for the U.S Department of Energy’s announcement of the selection of Jefferson Lab as the lead of a new High Performance Data Facility (HPDF). 

Jefferson Lab, a national laboratory specializing in particle physics, has long been an important partner to William & Mary. The creation of the HPDF expands the mission of JLab to include high-performance computing and data science, and marks an incredible moment of opportunity for William & Mary and Virginia to lead with distinctive excellence in these areas, consistent with growing student interest and expanding workforce needs.

As announced on Monday, the HPDF will specialize in a broad range of data-intensive science applications, providing researchers the capability to work in real time with massive datasets created by laboratories, sensors, supercomputer simulations, and artificial intelligence tools. The $300 million to $500 million computing and data infrastructure resource will be funded with both federal and Commonwealth resources, offering vast opportunities for analysis, collaboration and secure storage. Governor Glenn Youngkin, Senator Mark Warner, Senator Tim Kaine, Congressman Bobby Scott, State Senator Monty Mason, Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones and JLab Director Stuart Henderson offered remarks at yesterday’s event expressing enthusiasm about the new hub.  

W&M’s long partnership with JLab began in 1985 and has reliably offered opportunities for students and faculty to participate in critical research and to tackle fundamental problems in physics and applied science. This announcement, almost 40 years later, is timely for William & Mary and perfectly aligned with the university initiative to establish a new school in computing, data science, applied science, and physics. It promises to expand the breadth and significance of W&M research conducted at JLab and create new opportunities for collaborative research, funding, and academic advancements that will benefit both institutions. 

As our university’s chief academic officer and leader of the Vision 2026 Data Initiative, I am thrilled to share this news and eagerly anticipate the scientific achievements to come.