PSC News Center

NSF Awards $52 Million for the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

PITTSBURGH, August 24, 2005 — The National Science Foundation has awarded $52 million over the next five years to support operations of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) as a leading partner in the TeraGrid, NSF's program to provide national cyberinfrastructure for education and research. Built over the last four years, the TeraGrid is the world's largest, most comprehensive distributed cyberinfrastructure for open scientific research.

Much as physical infrastructure such as power grids, telephone lines, and water systems enables modern life, cyberinfrastructure makes possible much of modern scientific research. Through high-performance network connections, the TeraGrid integrates high-performance computers, data resources and tools, and high-end experimental facilities at eight partner sites around the country.

“TeraGrid unites the scientific and engineering community so that larger, more complex scientific questions can be answered,” said Arden Bement, director of the National Science Foundation. “Solving these larger challenges will, in turn, motivate the development of the next generation of cyberinfrastructure.”

“This award represents an opportunity to play an important leadership role,” said PSC co-scientific directors Michael Levine and Ralph Roskies, physicists at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh respectively. “We look forward to meeting the challenges ahead with TeraGrid in harnessing the full range of information technologies for coordinated, distributed, productive work enabling leading-edge science.”

Within the TeraGrid organization, PSC has taken leadership responsibility in user services and cyber-security as well as emphasizing capability computing, the ability to tackle the computationally most-demanding problems. PSC leads the TeraGrid user services working-group, which coordinates the effort to provide thousands of researchers nationally with consulting and other support to assure they can productively use the TeraGrid, and also leads the TeraGrid security working-group, which guides TeraGrid security policy. PSC also has significant national strengths in networking and in biomedical research.

The $52 million award to fund PSC’s operations is part of a five-year, $150 million NSF award — announced last week — to support the eight TeraGrid partner institutions, which in addition to PSC are: Argonne National Laboratory/University of Chicago, Indiana University, the National Center for Scientific Applications, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Purdue University, San Diego Supercomputer Center, and Texas Advanced Computing Center.

The new award to support PSC’s operations is in addition to the $9.7 million NSF awarded in 2004 to assist PSC in obtaining its newest, most powerful system, a Cray Inc. XT3 nicknamed Big Ben. Along with PSC’s current terascale system, named LeMieux (six teraflops), Big Ben (10 teraflops) will be one of the most powerful computing resources on the TeraGrid — which now has a computing capability that exceeds 60 teraflops (60 trillion calculations per second).



NSF awarded the $52 million to MPC Corporation, an entity established by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh to facilitate research efforts carried out through the resources of both universities.

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.


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Michael Schneider
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

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