Press Archive

EOT-PACI Receives $1 Million for Advanced Networking Project with Minority-Serving Institutions

Published 11/03/1999

Contacts: Karen Green, NCSA Public Information, kareng@ncsa.uiuc.edu
David Hart, NPACI External Relations, dhart@sdsc.edu

SAN DIEGO, CA, November 3, 1999 -- The Education, Outreach, and Training Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure ( EOT-PACI) announced this week that it received a $1 million award as part of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advanced Networking Project with Minority-Serving Institutions (AN-MSI).

The four-year AN-MSI program, which grants almost $6 million to groups across the country, was awarded to EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to transform education through information technologies. The new program helps higher education institutions that traditionally serve minority communities prepare for the next generation of information technology and computer networking.

EOT-PACI is a joint effort of the National Computational Science Alliance (Alliance) and the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), the two NSF-funded partnerships charged with creating a national computing infrastructure to support the next wave of scientific discovery. EOT-PACI is dedicated to making emerging technologies accessible to learners and educators at all levels and to forging an inclusive computing community.

Under NSF's AN-MSI program, colleges and universities that traditionally serve African-American, Hispanic, and Tribal communities will develop the infrastructure and skills needed to take advantage of advanced computational tools and resources, such as the technology Grid being prototyped by the Alliance and NPACI. The Grid will connect people, supercomputers, virtual environments, scientific instruments, educational tools, and large data sets through a seamless, integrated, persistent environment operating over high-speed networks.

"Advanced networks connecting Minority-Serving Institutions will help us extend the excitement and opportunities of science and computing to all of tomorrow's scientists. Such connections are the lifeblood of the Grid and its potential," said Sid Karin, director of NPACI.

The new program will encourage educators and students to integrate all the benefits and tools of the Grid into their instruction. Better awareness of and access to the nation's growing advanced computational infrastructure will offer research faculty the opportunity to increase their competitiveness for research grants and enhance their teaching strategies. Technical staffs will be better prepared to support and maintain the technology on a long-term basis. Also, the institutions' administrators will be better prepared for planning future information technology needs.

"Essential components of the Grid philosophy are inclusion and education," said Larry Smarr, director of the Alliance and its leading-edge site, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. "This award fosters that inclusion and helps bring a broad cross section of the university community into the research and evaluation of the Grid's capabilities."

Regional and on-campus workshops and training programs, prototype or experimental network connections, and the establishment of regional network support centers are among the strategies that will be used to achieve the program's objectives.

"An effort like this is not just about workshops and training programs," said Allison Clark, coordinator of access and inclusion efforts for the Alliance and NCSA. "It's about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to take part in the excitement and benefits of creating tomorrow's technology and making sure that we keep taking steps toward narrowing the digital divide."

The National Computational Science Alliance 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 Alliance is one of two partnerships funded by the National Science Foundation's Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) program, and receives cost-sharing at partner institutions. NSF also supports the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is the leading-edge site for the National Computational Science Alliance. NCSA is a leader in the development and deployment of cutting-edge high-performance computing, networking, and information technologies. The National Science Foundation, the state of Illinois, the University of Illinois, industrial partners, and other federal agencies fund NCSA.

The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) unites 46 universities and research institutions to build the computational environment for tomorrow's scientific discovery. Led by UC San Diego and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), NPACI is funded by the National Science Foundation's Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) program and receives additional support from the State and University of California, other government agencies, and partner institutions. The NSF PACI program also supports the National Computational Science Alliance. For additional information about NPACI ( http://www.npaci.edu) and SDSC ( http://www.sdsc.edu), contact David Hart, dhart@sdsc.edu.