Creativity & Innovation

Richard Anderson, right, shows Governor Deval Patrick the server room in the Venture Development Center.

Richard Anderson

  • Founder and CTO of Symmetric Computing

  • BS, College of Science and Mathematics, 1995

Making scientific computing more accessible and affordable to scientists is Richard Anderson’s passion.

“We founded Symmetric Computing to provide advanced computational tools for scientists, researchers, engineers, physicians, financial analysts, and artists at one-tenth the current cost,” says Anderson, who graduated from UMass Boston with a bachelor of science degree in 1995.

Affordable Supercomputers
Shared memory systems can cost $1 million to $10 million. Anderson and his co-founder produced a prototype supercomputer in the $60,000 to $145,000 price range. 

The Trio Departmental Supercomputer, released in November 2009, allows a large segment of scientists and engineers to enjoy the benefits of supercomputing.  Without the complexity of traditional clusters, supercomputing can improve productivity at a price point scientists and engineers can afford.

In October 2010, Symmetric Computing won one of just 16 MassChallenge awards and a cash prize of $50,000. Judges made their decision based on impact, scalability, competitive positioning, and execution. The next step is turning users into customers.

Venture Development Center
Anderson chose to locate his startup in UMass Boston’s Venture Development Center (VDC), which is a business incubator.

Opened in May 2009, the Venture Development Center has quickly become the cutting-edge center for emerging businesses in Boston.

“Being surrounded by other software, high-tech, and life science startups presents exciting possibilities for collaboration,” Anderson says.

Universities are the second largest users of supercomputers, after the Department of Defense, he says. A location at the VDC provides added credibility for other potential university customers. 

“Our shared memory departmental supercomputers can perform computations that previously required multi-million dollar machines, like those at the National Labs,” Anderson says.

This isn’t the only reason why Symmetric Computing is a good fit at UMass Boston. By “democratizing” access to state-of-the art computing, Anderson’s work is an example of how UMass Boston achieves its urban mission.

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