Receives Six ITR Awards
SDSC has been awarded
six highly competitive National Science Foundation Information
Technology Research (ITR) awards. SDSC researchers will participate
in projects ranging from earthquake modeling and prediction to
building the National Virtual Observatory and integrating wireless
real-time oceanographic and environmental data. Researchers from
SDSCs Data and Knowledge Systems program (DAKS) are participating
in all six of the awards.
Its a real sign of the recognized quality of SDSCs
work that so many of the projects were participating in
were funded, said Fran Berman, SDSC and NPACI director.
Through this NSF program, SDSC researchers will make major
contributions to both basic research and practical solutions to
advance science and engineering in the new century.
Although the average ITR award rate is only 15 percent, six out
of eight proposals in which SDSC participated were awarded. ITR
projects focus on fundamental research in information technology
and its innovative uses in science and engineering.
ITR projects in which SDSC researchers are participating include:
The Southern California Earthquake Centers SCEC
Community Modeling Environment: An Information Infrastructure
for System-Level Earthquake Research. This is a $10 million,
five-year project with collaborators in many institutions.
Exploring the Environment in Time: Wireless Networks and
Real-Time Management. This three-year, $3.2 million project will
use sensor arrays to monitor such interrelated environmental factors
as weather, fire hazard, water availability and quality, snow
pack in the Sierras, wildlife distribution and movement, and seismic
hazards in southern California.
SIO Explorer: Bridging the Gap between Libraries and Data
Archives. In this three-year award, UCSD researchers at the Institute
for Geophysics and Planetary Physics, SIO, and SDSC will build
on recent developments in database and digital library technology
to create a model that can rescue irreplaceable scientific archives
while they are still accessible, place them under cost-effective
modern database control, and make them available to a wide set
Enabling Creation and Use of GeoGrids for Next-Generation
Geospatial Information. In this three-year, $1.5 million project,
researchers at the University of Maine, SDSC, and Iowa State University
will develop concepts, algorithms, and system architectures to
enable users on a geographical or spatial grid to query, analyze,
and contribute to quality-aware geospatial information that can
encompass multiple variables.
The International Virtual Data Grid Laboratory (iVDGL).
This five-year, $13.6 million project will be carried out by a
consortium of 15 universities and four national laboratories.
In partnership with the European Union, Japan, Australia, and,
later, other nations and international groups, the iVDGL will
provide a large-scale computational resource for scientific experiments
in academic fields such as physics, astronomy, biology, and engineering.
Chemist Kim Baldridge Elected Fellow of AAAS
Kim K. Baldridge, SDSC associate director for Integrative Biology
and adjunct professor of chemistry at UCSD, has been elected a
fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science
(AAAS). She was being honored for the development of important
tools in quantum chemistry and the insightful application of these
tools in chemistry and biochemistry. Baldridge will be recognized
at the annual meeting of AAAS in Boston on February 16, 2002.
Baldridge, also a fellow of the American Physical Society, received
the Agnes Faye Morgan Research Award in 2000 from Iota Sigma Pi,
the national honor society for women in chemistry.
Baldridges research uses computationally derived chemical
and physical properties in conjunction with laboratory experiments
to enhance the understanding of technologically important chemical
structures and reaction processes. (v 5.21)
Focusing on Five Strategic Areas
Under the leadership
of Director Fran Berman, SDSC has refined the focus of its activities
to five strategic program areas: Integrative Biosciences, Data
and Knowledge Systems, Grid and Cluster Computing, High-End Computing,
and Computational Sciences.
SDSC is uniquely positioned to conduct research and development
at a scale and with a level of synergy that cannot be achieved
within traditional academic departments, said Berman. Through
these program areas, SDSC will pursue large, integrated projects
of national importance with the potential for significant impact.
In a process in which the entire staff of SDSC contributed, the
strategic areas were selected to focus on the centers strengths
and to increase the impact of its technical accomplishments. The
key metric of SDSCs success is the impact of its research
results, technology, and infrastructure, Berman said. Deep
impact is achieved when our projects directly promote scientific
breakthroughs. Broad impact is achieved when large communities
of users adopt our technologies. And future impact is achieved
when our activities provide a window to science for new audiences,
such as students, potential user communities, and the general
public. (v 5.20)
Teams Joining in $12 Million Project
Research centers from
across the nation will collaborate on a $12 million project to
develop middleware, software that allows scientists to share applications,
scientific instruments and data, and collaborate with colleagues
across the Internet.
The NSF Middleware Initiative (NMI) will create and deploy advanced
network services that will make it easier for researchers to access
a wide range of resources available through high-performance networks.
For example, they will be able to share scientific tools, such
as telescopes or modeling software, access supercomputing systems
and databases, and run simulations in real-time with colleagues
across the country and around the world.
Two groups will receive the awards. The Grids Research Integration
Deployment and Support (GRIDS) Center, including Information Sciences
Institute, Chicago, NCSA, SDSC, and the University of Wisconsin.
A team formed by Internet2 includes EDUCAUSE and the Southeastern
Universities Research Association.
We believe that middleware and a comprehensive middleware
infrastructure will be the key to creating a network infrastructure
that can be used by the worldwide research community to share
ideas, conduct research, and make new discoveries, said
Carl Kesselman, co-leader of NPACIs Metasystems (Grid Computing)
thrust area. There is a world of resources and information
out there, and we intend to bring it to members of the scientific
community in a seamless manner, so that they can focus specifically
on their research. (v 5.20)
Researcher Wins Molecular Docking Grant
molecular docking recently won a three-year, $1 million grant
from the U.S. Department of Energy to model how proteins interact.
The researchers, led by Julie Mitchell, assistant research scientist
at SDSC, are developing ways to improve computational models that
describe the structure of biomolecules.
Our goal in this project is to model protein interactions
in a way that accurately approximates the biology while remaining
computationally efficient, said Mitchell. Her work has focused
on ways of making parallel code used for molecular docking run
more efficiently utilizing resources such as the IBM Blue Horizon
Mitchell has been collaborating with Lynn Ten Eyck at SDSC, Victoria
Roberts at The Scripps Research Institute, and Michael Holst,
J. Ben Rosen, and J. Andrew McCammon at UCSD. (v 5.20)
Collaborating on Project to Study Endangered Primates
SDSC will participate
in a five-year, $3.8 million NSF-supported collaboration to establish
an Integrated Primate Biomaterials and Information Resource to
preserve biomaterials such as blood from primate species. Other
partners in the consortium include the Zoological Society of San
Diegos Center for Research in Endangered Species (CRES),
the International Species Inventory System (ISIS), the Coriell
Institute for Medical Research, and Princeton University.
The resource will provide primate biomaterials such as DNA samples
and cell lines for research. This program will probe questions
that range from wild primate distribution and conservation to
human and primate origins and human behavior and cognition.
As wild primate populations are endangered worldwide, it
is important for future research studies to preserve primate biomaterials
together with pedigree and other information, said David
Stockwell, an environmental informatics research scientist at
SDSC. The leadership of SDSC in applying advanced information
technologies to biomaterials from zoos and field collections will
make a significant contribution to this important new resource,
complementing the work we have done with biodiversity informatics
in the museum community.
The ability of scientists to conduct advanced research to conserve
endangered species and to learn more about human genetics requires
open access to high-quality, well-documented biological samples.
However, until now such access has been sporadic and the quality
control of information and samples highly variable. This new resource
will make an important contribution to overcoming these obstacles.
MTA Retired at SDSC
On September 14, the
Cray/Tera MTA at SDSC was retired. The 3-year-old multithreaded
computer was developed and manufactured by Tera Computer of Seattle,
WA, during the 1990s. Cray Inc., formed from the March 2000 merger
of Tera Computer Company and Cray Research, had provided maintenance
of the MTA.
The MTA at SDSC was the largest and only one outside of Seattle.
It was installed in stages, beginning with one processor in December
1997 and growing to eight processors in May 1999. A further upgrade
to 16 processors was planned, but difficulties in manufacturing
its GaAs chips prevented that implementation.(v 5.19)