New grid portal to improve US researchers' access to advanced computing resources

November 06, 2000

Computational scientists will soon have a powerful new tool for using resources on the national "grid" of high-performance research networks. The web-based grid portal will help computer scientists, scientists and engineers by simplifying and consolidating access to advanced computing systems supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI).

The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), the National Computational Science Alliance (NCSA), and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) have announced formation of the integrated grid portal. NPACI and Alliance will demonstrate a prototype at SC2000, November 410 in Dallas.

"The collaboration efforts mean that computational scientists will have access to machines supported by NPACI, the Alliance, PSC, and NASA, provided that they have accounts," said Richard Hilderbrandt, NSF program director for the PACI program. "The complementary efforts of the PACI partnerships have made the PACI grid portal a reality."

A PACI-wide secure environment will give researchers access to resources through a single log-in. The integrated portal extends the capabilities of the NPACI HotPage to include computational resources from the Alliance and PSC, as well as those from the NASA Information Power Grid (IPG). Representatives from NPACI, the Alliance, and NASA IPG have conducted a series of workshops targeting specific technologies and resources to include in the effort to demonstrate computational science portals using the high-end systems made available by each organization.

NPACI resources include systems at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), the University of Texas, the University of Michigan, and Caltech. Alliance resources include systems at NCSA, Boston University, the University of New Mexico, the Maui High Performance Computing Center, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Kentucky. PSC systems include the new NSF funded Terascale Computing System slated to begin operation in February. NASA IPG will also add its Ames, Glenn and Langley research centers to the grid.

Currently the portal uses GridPort and the CA Client from SDSC, MyProxy from NCSA, Globus and the Grid Index Information Service from the Globus Project, and the community-supported Grid Security Infrastructure. In addition, for authentication, the portal uses MyProxy, which is the result of collaboration between the Alliance, NPACI and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, which has led the MyProxy development.

"This portal integrates many leading-edge grid technologies being developed by the PACI program," said Mary Thomas, manager of the Computational Science Portals group at SDSC. "Through continued collaboration, future releases of the portal will integrate additional PACI technologies, such as the Network Weather Service and the SDSC Storage Resource Broker."
NPACI unites 46 universities and research institutions to build the computational environment for tomorrow's scientific discovery. Led by the University of California San Diego and SDSC, NPACI is funded by NSF's PACI program and receives additional support from the State and University of California, other government agencies and partner institutions.

PACI also provides operational support to NCSA, which is a partnership to prototype an advanced computational infrastructure for the 21st century and includes more than 50 academic, government and industry research partners from across the United States.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh together with the Westinghouse Electric Company. It was established in 1986 and is supported by several federal agencies, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and private industry.

Media contacts:
Tom Garritano

NPACI: David Hart

NCSA: Karen Green

PSC: Sean Fulton

Program contact:
Richard Hilderbrandt

For more about the grid portal, see:
For more information about PACI, see:

National Science Foundation

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