UC Berkeley press release


UC Berkeley part of large NSF-funded national supercomputing partnership announced Friday

by Robert Sanders

Berkeley -- Two national supercomputing centers were chosen Friday (3/28) by the National Science Foundation to spearhead a nationwide effort to make high-performance supercomputers more available to the country's scientists and engineers.

UC San Diego and its San Diego Supercomputer Center will lead one of the partnerships, which involves 37 national research institutions including UC Berkeley. (Click here for SDSC press release.) UC San Diego will soon begin negotiations to forge a cooperative agreement with NSF valued at approximately $170 million over five years.

"Until now the national supercomputing labs have primarily been in the business of providing 'cycles,' that is, providing the research community with access to high-performance computers," says Susan L. Graham, chief computer scientist for the UC San Diego-led partnership and professor of computer science at UC Berkeley. "With this new partnership, we now will also help the user community to be early users of emerging high-performance technologies."

The group led by UC San Diego -- called NPACI, for National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure -- will concentrate on numerous scientific problems requiring intensive computing. These problems range from climate and weather prediction to drug and new materials design.

The UC Berkeley collaborators will concentrate on the following areas:

  • UC Berkeley computer scientists have created a new kind of parallel computer by linking 100 inexpensive, off-the-shelf workstations into a network that has the capabilities of a supercomputer. Computer science professor David Culler will make this one-of-a-kind network -- dubbed NOW, for Network of Workstations -- available to NPACI partners, and in the process get feedback to help refine the system.
  • With numerous partners, UC Berkeley computer scientists Susan Graham, Katherine Yelick, James Demmel and Phillip Colella hope to develop components of a common runtime system and a common parallel linear algebra library that will help to coordinate the use of computers scattered around the country -- a technique known as metacomputing. The work is partly based on separately funded work in UC Berkeley's Titanium group, which is developing compiler and language support for parallel programming of distributed memory multiprocessors, and the ScaLAPACK group, which is developing scalable parallel numerical software libraries.
  • While most supercomputer users want their capacity for fast, repetitive calculation, more and more need the ability to crunch large amounts of data, such as the huge streams of data transmitted from satellites. As an accompaniment to his Digital Library project, computer science professor Robert Wilensky will work with 19 partners to develop tools for data-intensive computing when the data is stored at many locations around the world.
  • James Demmel, Robert Wilensky and various collaborators will work to improve atmospheric and ocean modeling, create better visualization systems for such models, and develop ways to make the data available through an Earth systems digital library.
  • Several UC Berkeley faculty hope to provide NPACI partners with supercomputing software solutions to investigate complicated engineering problems. Gregory Fenves of civil engineering plans to look at vehicle crash worthiness; Andrew Neureuther of electrical engineering and computer science will attempt to simulate optical phenomena in photolithography; and David Bogy of mechanical engineering will model air-bearing sliders for hard disk drives.

Copyright for all items on this server held by The Regents of the University of California. Thanks for your interest in UC Berkeley.
More Press Releases | More Campus News and Events | UC Berkeley Home Page


Send comments to: comments@pa.urel.berkeley.edu