2008 Research Report

Please visit the below links to learn how OSC has empowered Ohio researchers.


Biological Sciences

Bioscience investigators in Ohio are accessing vast amounts of genetic, clinical, imaging and environmental data to individualize the diagnosis and treatment of disease. More...

Advanced Materials

Researchers and scientists in Ohio are developing exciting new classes of materials with unusual properties. More...

Data Exploitation

With the growth of information technology, the levels of data generated for use in research, business and industry has risen astronomically. More...

Research Landscape

Ohio’s strengths in basic and applied research are broad and deep, spanning a multitude of academic, business and industrial organizations. More...

Click here to download a pdf version of the 2008 OSC Research Report.



Ohio always has been a state renowned for its legacy of discovery and innovation. With a vision toward nurturing such lofty pursuits, the Ohio Board of Regents in 1987 created the Ohio Supercomputer Center to help position Ohio’s research universities and private industry at the forefront of computational research. More than 20 years later, this enlightened vision still empowers the Center and its dedicated staff.

“The historic strengths and traditions of our individual universities will be drawn upon to create distinctive missions for each, leading to the establishment of nationally and internationally recognized Centers of Excellence that will be drivers of both the regional and state economies,” Chancellor Eric Fingerhut said in his recent strategic plan for Ohio’s colleges and universities.

“The plan recognizes that a measure of the success of the University System of Ohio will be increases in the amount of federal research funding received by Ohio researchers. Supercomputing is essential to this goal,” he said.

The current and future competitiveness of innovators working at The Ohio State University, within the University System of Ohio, at private colleges, at federal labs, in private industry and throughout the State of Ohio rely upon the development and operation of a powerful, science-enabling cyberinfrastructure.

A physicist must have access to cutting-edge supercomputers. A pediatrician needs a fiber-optic network connection to a neonatal specialist. A medical student requires real-time, interactive computer simulations. And, a manufacturer wants new employees skilled in computational science.

These are just a handful of the current demands for robust cyberinfrastructure resources here in Ohio that you will see described on the following pages. The staff of Ohio Supercomputer Center and the Ohio Academic Resources Network partner diligently and collaboratively to provide effective responses to these demands to further extend Ohio’s legacy of discovery and innovation.

OSC Overview

Ohio: Truly a State of Innovation. The names of Ohioans famous for their discoveries and inventions are known across this nation and around the globe. The register of names is endless, because the inventory of Ohio innovations continues to expand in the national annals.

Emerging as a significant player in the modern global, information-age economy, Ohio possesses one of the most potent combinations of statewide cyberinfrastructure elements in the world: high-end supercomputers, high-speed networking, research leadership and inspirational education.

“I believe that modeling, simulation and largescale analysis with high performance computing is vital to maintaining an edge in American innovation,” said Richard H. Herman, co-chair of the Council on Competitiveness HPC Initiative and chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “High performance computing simply is transforming business processes worldwide.”

Supercomputers, however, are only as powerful as the software they can effectively run. In order to expand that base of software, it must be easier to develop code for massively parallel systems.

“The cyberinfrastructure and software development program at the Ohio Supercomputer Center addresses this pressing need through a combination of software development, a robust production services environment and in-house research and consulting,” said Ashok Krishnamurthy, Ph.D., senior director of research at OSC.

A rising national issue sponsored by OSC, Blue Collar Computing seeks to help industry gain easy and affordable access to advanced computing technologies. Under this program, advanced computational technologies provide companies with innovative tools that allow for the virtual development of new and improved products.

OSC also has partnered with Ohio’s higher education and business communities to develop the innovative, virtual Ralph Regula School of Computational Science to help ensure Ohio fields a highly skilled workforce in computational science.

To energize these initiatives, OSC installed an IBM Cluster 1350 supercomputer earlier this year. OSC’s array of equipment also includes a visualization cluster, a network research cluster and a large mass storage environment.

For Ohio, with widely distributed educational and research centers, OSCnet, managed by OARnet, provides the connectivity to enable widespread collaboration. OSCnet features more than 1,850 miles of fiber-optic backbone, and OARnet provides an array of networking services, such as videoconferencing, Internet2 connectivity, engineering consulting and satellite trailer systems for remote Internet connectivity. OSCnet has merged over the last year with a new state and local government networking initiative to create the Broadband Ohio Network.

With these statewide cyberinfrastructure elements largely in place, state policymakers in recent years moved to strategically align Ohio’s research and technology portfolio to position the state for maximum and sustained economic growth.

Battelle, the Columbus-based international science and technology enterprise, compared the state’s institutional and industrial technology platforms to identify those areas most promising for statewide economic impact. Seven specific technology platforms were identified, and the biosciences were organized into four additional technology platforms. Information technology was recognized as an important crosscutting technology platform on which numerous other fields rely and in which interdisciplinary research and development can occur.

OSC studied these dozen platforms and determined that three areas would be the most productive “areas of excellence” on which the Center could focus investments, collaborations, research and market solutions: biosciences, advanced materials and, within the IT platform, data exploitation.

The Center already had established close ties with the state’s bioscience research community, especially within bioinformatics and biomedical sciences. OSC and OARnet have developed high-definition videoconferencing technologies to assist pediatricians in rural communities, created a virtual environment in which medical students can practice delicate surgical techniques and is helping to expand the highly skilled bioinformatics workforce.

OSC staff members are improving research in advanced materials and multi-scale computational modeling and design. For example, physicists are developing new algorithms on OSC systems that could unlock the mysteries of superconductivity, a scientist is working with OSC staff to exploit the spin of electrons to create smaller, more efficient semiconductors, and a professor taps into OSC supercomputers to research new and improved materials that may lessen the impact of crashes.

The amount of data generated in research, engineering and medicine has grown astronomically, and researchers often are at a loss to exploit its full potential. OSC provides Ohio researchers with a combination of innovative data storage, annotation systems, file systems, advanced I/O and management systems, as well as analytical software and the computational muscle to exploit the data. Using OSC resources, a polar scientist combines a decade of land, sea and atmospheric measurements to understand climate changes at the North Pole, and researchers use a hardware/software package developed at OSC to manipulate powerful electron microscopes and mass spectrometers over the Internet.

OSC also supports basic and applied research outside of its three targeted areas of excellence, supporting a wide array of researchbeing conducted at Ohio's institutions of higher learning. A researcher creates visualizations at OSC to provide forestry officials with new insights on wildlife survival of forest fires and a scientist processes satellite data on OSC systems to predict flood patterns for the central Amazon floodplain.

The research and discoveries enabled by the Ohio Supercomputer Center are valuable because of their contribution to the expansion of human knowledge, the improvement and saving of lives and the attraction of talent and valuable jobs.

"By attracting and supporting talented researchers who are interested in pushing the boundaries of existing disciplines, higher education can become the source of new inventions and technologies that spur the creation of entire new industries, transforming the economy of the state in the same way that the invention of the automobile transformed Ohio a century ago," Chancellor Eric Fingerhut recently noted in his strategic plan for Ohio higher education.

Whether scientific inquiry in Ohio delves into the furthest reaches of the biosciences, advanced materials, data exploitation or other fields across the research landscape, OSC is prepared to provide the computational resources and professional talent to help maintain Ohio's legacy as the State of Innovation.