Columbus, Ohio -- The Cold War may be over, but the need for well-trained government scientists and engineers lives on. The Ohio Supercomputer Center is helping the federal government keep its cadre of high performance computing specialists current on state of the art computers. And it's doing it right here in Ohio.
The Center recently signed a $5 million contract -- $5,726,157 to be exact -- to help the Department of Defense (DOD) Research and Engineering modernize computing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. Nichols Research Corporation of Huntsville, AL is the prime contractor with the Department of Defense and provides the information technology services to architect, install, and maintain the DOD center. The Ohio Supercomputer Center trains defense scientists and engineers in the latest ways computers can be used to help solve scientific problems. In addition, the Center is coordinating training and education through a consortium of 14 academic institutions nationwide including Central State University.
The Department of Defense needs high performance computing capabilities for its increasingly complex and computationally intensive research and development efforts. The department is upgrading research facilities at four sites nationwide through a High Performance Computing Modernization Program.
"We are excited to provide this kind of assistance to the DOD," said Center Director Charlie Bender. "An award of this kind is a testimony to the wealth of scientific and technological resources that reside in Ohio."
Many of the computing applications are similar to the ones used by researchers statewide who compute at the Center. Now nearly 10 years old, the Center was established in 1987 to be just this kind of high-tech computer resource for all of Ohio's public and private universities. To use the supercomputer, a communications network had to be created. OSC Networking, that communications "backbone" now carries communications and data for more than 80 colleges, universities, state agencies, and commercial customers.
"The state of Ohio made a wise investment that is clearly paying off," said Bender. "We are the catalyst for many statewide research collaborations. Those collaborations and the research and staff expertise at the Center was leveraged to gain this type of federal contract."
For the next five years, the Center will offer courses helpful to scientists solving problems in computational chemistry and materials design -- both are specialties of Ohio researchers. Courses focus on new software tools and new methods to study these problems. Courses range from one-on-one tutorials to courses offered on the World Wide Web.