Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category

PITAC report confusion?

Monday, July 18th, 2005

Since the PITAC report titled Computational Science: Ensuring America’s Competitiveness was released in June, much discussion has taken place regarding the conclusions and recommendations contained in it. On July 1st, HPCwire published a commentary on the report by Dr. Robert Panoff, the founder and Executive Director of The Shodor Education Foundation, Inc.. Included in Dr. Panoff’s analysis was the suggestion that the report authors

… missed the chance to make their case for a broader impact of computational science: the most compelling science challenges that face us -challenges that do, in fact, justify a national effort at the large end of the spectrum- were relegated to the appendices in the report. Their main recommendation is to sustain software centers, not science. As Stan Lee would say, “‘Nuf said,”

Well, it looks as if some of the contributors to the report took exception to Dr. Panoff’s opinion. On July 15th, Dan Reed, Jack Dongarra, Chris Johnson, and Ken Kennedy issued a response to Dr. Panoff in HPCwire. In their response, Reed et al. clarify their point by stating that the main recommendation of the report calls for a

… balanced, integrated, long-term program that addresses all aspects of computational science.

Regardless of the primary recommendation, the bottom line is that any enhanced role of computational science in the United States will depend on greater emphasis by the federal government as well as clearer vision and understanding by all of the players, academia included, of how computational science fits into the overall research agenda.

Opportunities for scientific visualization research

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Interested in scientific visualization and wonder what some of the more salient research issues are in computational visualization? Chris Johnson, director of the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute at the University of Utah, recently published his choice of the top 15 research problems facing this relatively new area of computational science. Although rather brief, Johnson’s paper provides a good summary of all 15 issues/problems.

An html version of the paper is available as well as a pdf version.

It’s no surprise that scientific visualization of the computational variety represents a critical area for high performance computing. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words could be no more accurate here. With the current ability to quickly perform astronomical size equations that result in tera- and petabytes of data, producing high resolution visualizations of data has tremendous value to “real-world” applications such as medical imaging and simulation and modeling of weather forecasts (such as mentioned in the previous post).

Relinquishing the lead in computational science

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

The US Office of Science and Technology has released the PITAC (President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee) report that focuses on computational technology. This new report, aptly titled Computational Science: Ensuring America’s Competitiveness, calls for an overhaul of the existing models for computational collaboration and funding within industry, academia, and government.

Citing the lack of clear vision for computational science in the US and increased globalization in computational technology production, the report examines where the US is going with respect to computational capability. Mentioning complacency, lack of organization, and the lack of understanding of what computational science is all about, the committee

believes that the Nation’s failure to embrace computational science is symptomatic of a larger failure to recognize that many 21st-century research challenges are themselves profoundly multidisciplinary, requiring teams of highly skilled people from diverse areas of science, engineering, public policy, and the social sciences.

In addition, the report provides some disturbing statistics about the decline in intellectual resources. Among them,

The 849 doctoral degrees in computer science and computer engineering awarded in 2002 by U.S. institutions was the lowest number since 1989, according to an annual Computing Research Association survey [NRC,2005].

So what is the report asking government to do? In a nutshell, provide a stronger commitment, better long term support (aka funding), and better coordination (aka leadership) within the computational science ecosystem.

Atkins joins the Blogosphere

Friday, June 10th, 2005

Dan Atkins, chair of the NSF Blue Ribbon panel on Cyberinfrastructure and one of the main author’s of what is now commonly referred to as “the Atkin’s report,” has cranked up his own blog. As one of the driving forces behind the development of collaboratories over the past decade or more (he was a founder of UARC, one of the earliest and best known collaboratories), he is one of a small handfull of people who could rightfully claim (or be charged with, depending on how you view it) paternity for the cyberinfrastructure movement. He’s obviously someone we CTWatchers think is worth paying attention to.
A tip of the hat to the Forum on Information Technology and Research Universities, the news and information blog of the National Academies.

Hey buddy, can you spare a research article?

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

Research sharing is perhaps taking on a new model in the Netherlands. Citing the increasing financial restrictions for acquiring academic research material, the Dutch DAREnet was launched over a year ago as a portal and repository for thousands of documents from 16 major academic institutions. According to The Register, DAREnet is no longer in “demonstration only” mode and is now providing researchers with free material that previously would have been available only through journal subscriptions and other commercial outlets.

Technical report on Blue Gene/L from IBM

Wednesday, May 4th, 2005

The latest issue of IBM’s Journal of Research and Development is devoted to Blue Gene/L. It includes an overview of the architecture, reports on various subsystems, and a rundown of the software environment. Not yet available for order! Operators are not standing by! Just look at it online, you goon.

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