Archive for the ‘Scientific Applications’ Category

TeraGrid extension in Information Week

Friday, August 19th, 2005

Information Week covered the new TeraGrid dollars in its most recent issue. Scientific Gateways get play:

Historically, scientists who needed access to the most powerful computers have been willing to adapt their work to the requirements of large supercomputers, Catlett says. The goal of the science gateways is to provide Web applications and PC software that can give scientists in a given field a common way of running programs on Teragrid machines. Says Catlett, “It’s one of the most exciting things we’re doing.”

Nanowires from Geobacter

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

EE Times delivers reports from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst of “observing and measuring the conductivity of long wires, 3 to 5 nanometers in diameter, emanating [what an interesting choice of verbs] from the Geobacter bacteria.” Researchers have known for years of Geobacters ability to metabolize metals from soils and water, applying it to environmental cleanup.

“‘The microbial world never stops surprising us,’ said Aristides Patrinos, associate director of the DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research. ‘This discovery illustrates the continuing relevance of the physical sciences to today’s biological investigations.’”

Find out more from UMass’ Derek Lovely’s team and read the research group’s article (.pdf) in Nature.

Data Intensive Science University Network

Thursday, August 4th, 2005

NSF recently awarded a group of universities $10 million over five years to set up and operate a grid that will allow researchers and students to access physics data produced by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. The Data Intensive Science University Network, or DISUN for short, will provide access to results from the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, which will account for a portion of the petabytes of data produced by the Collider annually. The CMS effort will also contribute to other grid projects including the Open Science Grid.

More detailed information about the project can be found in Supercomputing Online’s story about DISUN from last week.

NASA collaboration

Thursday, July 14th, 2005

The tragedy that befell the shuttle Columbia in 2003 resulted in numerous changes within NASA’s shuttle program. One of these changes, as outlined at, is greater intra-agency collaboration within the shuttle program itself. Experts at NASA’s Ames Center in California are now involved in certain aspects of the shuttle program, once reserved for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Taking advantage of it’s institutional-wide expertise, NASA now involves all of its centers in shuttle processes. The Ames Center has specifically been called upon to run simulations using it’s supercomputer (the third fastest in the world based on June’s Top500 list), appropriately named Columbia, to test scenarios involving the thermal tiles and other components. Personnel at Ames will also be on call to use the Columbia supercomputer to run immediate simulations during missions to find the best solution to specific problems.

NASA leveraging its overall talent, expertise, and multiple resources for a common goal represents an approach that should be utilized in greater frequency, not only within other agencies, but between separate organizations as well (such as academia and government). Such a paradigm would, in many ways, accelerate the nation’s cyberinfrastructure efforts.

Thanks to for the article.

Weather forecasting breakthrough

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

It seems only fitting as hurricane season is well underway that some news about weather forecasting get the spotlight. The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, in a multiple partnership led by NOAA, successfully demonstrated never before achieved storm forecasting by producing higher resolution results than currently used forecasting models are capable of. Over a three month period from April to June, PSC utilized a new forecasting model on its Terascale Computing System to generate three forecasts a day over an area of the Great Plains in the midwest. According to Kelvin Droegemeier, director of the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms at the University of Oklahoma and one of the partners of the effort,

Results from the spring experiment suggest that the atmosphere may be fundamentally more predictable at the scale of individual storms and especially organized storm systems than previously thought. Real time daily forecasts over such a large area and with such high spatial resolution have never been attempted before.

It’s good to see a parallel software success story as is the case with this new weather modeling system called the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model, especially given the fact that high performance software development lags well behind the much publicized advances in computing power.

The full story can be found on PSC’s website here.

Supercomputer Eye on the Universe

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Looks like the Europeans, the Dutch to be precise, have found an interesting use for what Reuters calls the most powerful computer in Europe in terms of sustained performance (27.4 teraflops). According to the article, which I picked up off CNN, the IBM system will:

“…process signals from up to 13 billion light years from earth — as far back in time as the beginnings of the earliest stars and galaxies after the formation of the universe.”

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