Boston University Goes Online As Partner In National Computational Science Alliance

October 01, 1997

(Boston, Mass.) -- Beginning October 1, Boston University joins research partners across the nation in an alliance to build the infrastructure that will link many of the world's most advanced computers into a network that will allow researchers to solve complex problems in fields such as cosmology, molecular biology, nanomaterials and environmental hydrology.

The University will participate in the National Computational Science Alliance (Alliance) in three ways: it will establish a regional center of high performance computing resources called MARINER (Mid-level Alliance Resource In the North East Region); it will work with other partners to develop the technologies needed to build an advanced distributed computing environment; and it will play a central role in coordinating education and outreach activities for the Alliance.

In anticipation of this effort Boston University has added 128 processors to its Silicon Graphics (SGI) Origin2000TM system, giving it a total of 192 processors, and making it one of the most powerful systems available on any US university campus.

"We are at the end of our first decade of providing increasingly advanced and powerful scientific computing resources to our faculty, students, and regional partners. With the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and our excellent relationship with SGI, we are now extraordinarily well-prepared to follow the path of our research into the decade that lies ahead,"said John H. Porter, Vice President for Information Systems and Technology.

As a regional center, MARINER will offer training and access on the Origin2000TM, and will create and maintain a Web-based repository of training materials, benchmark data and software tools. The University will also act as a testing site for new software developed by Alliance teams. Researchers at Boston University's department of computer science will work to develop new technologies to improve network performance, including development of a Java-based simulation of computer networks which can test, refine and deploy scheduling and load-balancing techniques to enhance distributed computing.

Roscoe Giles, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, deputy director of the Center for Computational Science at Boston University and member of the Alliance Executive Committee, also serves as one of two coordinators nationwide for Education and Outreach under the NSF Partners for Computational Services (PACI) initiative, the funding organization of the Alliance. He is responsible for coordinating the national effort aimed at school audiences at the K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as outreach to underserved populations. He also leads a Boston University team which will develop network based educational activities for undergraduates.

The Alliance is one of two NSF PACI alliances, with the leading edge site at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The other is the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure, headed by the San Diego Supercomputing Center at the University of California, San Diego.

Further information about the the NSF PACI program, the Alliance, and Boston University's role as an Alliance partner can be found at the following websites:

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