Over the last three years, the Oklahoma Innovation Institute has worked to build a collaborative infrastructure in the Tulsa region, including a Tulsa community supercomputer.
Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, the University of Tulsa, Tulsa Community College and private sector partners, including a number of inventors and entrepreneurs, all needed the computational power of a supercomputer, but no one entity had the budget to foot the entire bill.
They pooled energy, money and other resources, and three years later, turned on the $2.5 million Tandy Supercomputer. Tulsa’s Tandy is the country’s first truly community supercomputer, a system that supports entrepreneurs, businesses, educational institutions and public entities with access to the power of supercomputing at minimal cost.
That effort recently earned the Oklahoma Innovation Institute recognition as an Oklahoma Innovator of the Year, as well as proving to a lot of people that the Tulsa community could think collaboratively.
“We kept looking for more ways to bring together people, money, and resources in better and smarter ways,” said David Greer, executive director of the University of Tulsa’s Institute for Information Security and executive director of the Oklahoma Innovation Institute.
Under the Innovation Institute umbrella, the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance launched in January.
This endeavor came about through an interest in connecting Tulsa’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) resources in a collaborative model to produce more STEM education opportunities for the area’s young people, from pre-K through graduation.
The goal is to provide what Greer describes as a “seamless STEM education conveyor belt,” to bring STEM education to every child.
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Out of every 100 ninth-graders, only six graduate from college with STEM degrees.