New Generation Of Supercomputer Arrives At Boston University

September 08, 1996

Boston, Mass. -- A new supercomputer with some of the most powerful and sophisticated technology available is now up and running at Boston University. Receipt of Origin2000®, a new generation of supercomputer from Silicon Graphics, a California-based computer manufacturer, was announced today by the University's Office of Information Technology and the Center for Computational Science. Silicon Graphic's Origin2000 marks the fourth generation of parallel supercomputers to be installed at the University. It will be utilized by researchers and students throughout the University and organizations throughout New England to solve a multitude of computational problems in areas ranging from theoretical physics to biology.

Boston University was one of the first academic institutions in the country to explore the potential of parallel supercomputing with a Connection Machine CM-2 acquired in 1988, followed by the CM-5 in 1992 and the Silicon Graphics POWER CHALLENGEarray® in 1995. The POWER CHALLENGEarrray will continue to operate along with the new Origin2000. High end computer workstations located in other parts of the University will be connected to the Origin2000 via a high speed network.

"Our scientists have been at the forefront of parallel computing since we installed a CM-2 in 1988," says Dr. Claudio Rebbi, Director of the Center for Computational Science, "The Origin2000 will open a whole new dimension to their research. We are extremely pleased at the partnership we have been developing with Silicon Graphics and we are thrilled to be among the very first users worldwide of this futuristic new supercomputer."

More than 300 research scientists representing more than 100 research projects currently use the supercomputing facilities of the Center. They represent departments throughout the University including manufacturing, biomedical, aerospace and electrical & computer engineering, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy, biology, and computer science and the centers for remote sensing and photonics.

According to Dr. Ilona Lappo, Assistant Director of the Center for Computational Science, "The Center is currently running at full capacity, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. The new computer will allow us to not only expand our capacity by accommodating more research, it will allow scientists to model systems and explore problems in greater depth than is possible with our current equipment.

"Another key advantage of the Origin2000 is the high degree to which it fits seamlessly into our computing and graphics environment," says Dr. John H. Porter, Associate Provost for Information Technology. "Our researchers will be able to move smoothly between their workstations, this new supercomputer, and the powerful visualization equipment we make available to them, including ImmersaDesk virtual reality stations powered by the Silicon Graphics Onyx computer."

Through the Center's MARINER Project (Metacenter Affiliated Resource in the New England Region), funded by the National Science Foundation, the supercomputer's resources will be available to other schools, universities, museums, community organizations and business partners. "The new Origin2000 also represents a regional resource that enables our MARINER partners to explore the forefront of advanced computation applied to science and engineering research, business, education, and the arts," says Dr. Roscoe Giles, Deputy Director of the Center and co-Director of the MARINER Project.

The Center for Computational Science at Boston University was chartered in 1990 as an interdisciplinary focal point for computational science and high performance and parallel computing. In collaboration with the Office of Information Technology Scientific Computing and Visualization Group, the Center has pioneered parallel supercomputing applications in the New England region. The Center is a cooperative venture whose associated members come from a variety of disciplines in the academic and industrial communities in order to develop and take advantage of leading edge computer and communications technologies.

For further information about Origin2000 and computational programs at Boston University visit our web site at:

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Boston University

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