Ohio Supercomputer Center to Play Major Role in National Computational Science Alliance

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Oct 2, 1997) — 

The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) announced today that it is joining researchers, industry, and educational leaders from across the country to build the Advanced Computational Infrastructure for the 21st century.

The Alliance, which became a reality on Oct.1 and involves more than 50 research partners, is led by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The partnership was made possible last March, when the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced its funding as part of its Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) programs. The other is the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), headed by the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego.

"This is an unprecedented effort in which the whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts," said Larry Smarr, director of NCSA and now also director of the Alliance. "Each of the partners in this Alliance brings expertise, resources, and a commitment of time and energy to our efforts. In essence, we are establishing a virtual community that shares its knowledge and pools its resources to create the computational and information infrastructure of the 21st century that will support the next generation of scientific and engineering research."

As one of the Alliance's Partners for Advanced Computational Services (PACS), the Ohio Supercomputer Center will provide many of the threads that constitute the fabric of the advanced computational infrastructure, and will work with other institutions to make the Alliance appear as one national resource. The center will work with the computational science and engineering community, as well as with other teams within the Alliance, to provide new technologies that meet and exceed the demands of the user community.

"OSC is proud to be a part of the national cadre of intellectual expertise brought together by the Alliance," said Charlie Bender, member of the Alliance Executive Committee and Director of OSC. "Partnership in the Alliance also will enable the Center to provide Ohio educational institutions, both K-12 and higher education, and some industries with new collaboration opportunities and connections to national computational science and engineering resources."

Bender, as member of the Executive Committee, will work with 13 members from the academic, industrial, computer science, and engineering communities to plan and manage the Alliance. The center will also be a testbed and support infrastructure for technologies such as the K-12 SuperWeb. As a part of the SuperWeb project, it will coordinate the development of Java-based virtual learning centers for Internet-based instruction and mentoring. The Center also will provide user and support, training, and outreach for SGI/CRAY T90 and T3E systems. For more information on OSC's involvement in the Alliance, go to http://alliance.ncsa.uiuc.edu/partnering/osc.html.

During the next five years, the NSF will provide the Alliance with up to $170 million to prototype a national computational infrastructure called the National Technology Grid. This Grid will integrate high-performance computers, advanced visualization environments, remote instruments, and databases via high-speed networks to form the most powerful problem-solving environment ever assembled.

In addition to assembling computing resources, the Grid will link people and ideas. Researchers will work together and share ideas with ease through the use of collaboration technologies for the desktop or tele-immersion for virtual reality. They will have at their disposal advanced searching and indexing digital libraries, audio and video streaming, and virtual offices.

The Grid -- through both its very existence and the technology it will assemble and engender -- will change how research is conducted in America.

The Ohio Supercomputer Center is a state-funded resource serving Ohio's higher education community. The Center facilitates discoveries that enhance Ohio's economic development and supports statewide technological advancement and education. OSC Networking provides Internet access to faculty, staff and students at Ohio's colleges and universities, state government agencies in Ohio and Kentucky, as well as many K-12 schools.

NCSA was established in 1986 as part of the National Science Foundation's Supercomputer Centers program. The center receives support from the National Science Foundation, the State of Illinois, the University of Illinois, and other partners.