Projects range from a "Tree of Life" for
all of Earth's known flora and fauna to "virtual"
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University
of California, San Diego (SDSC) will participate in
several National Science Foundation (NSF) Information
Technology Research (ITR) awards. ITR projects focus
on fundamental research in information technology (IT)
and innovative uses of IT in science and engineering.
Announced today, of the two large ITRs, one, funded
at $11.6 million, will create a "Tree of Life"
that will allow researchers to explore the evolutionary
relationships between all species of living organisms.
The second, Virtual Grid Application Development Software
(VGrADS), funded at $8.25 million, aims to simplify
and accelerate the development of Grid applications
and services, making the Grid more accessible to users.
The first award to develop the "Tree of Life"
will support an alliance of 13 institutions coordinated
by Bernard Moret, Professor of Computer Science
at University of New Mexico. SDSC's Director, Francine
Berman, and SDSC's Director of Integrative Biosciences,
Philip Bourne, will serve as co-PIs, and Program Coordinator
Mark Miller will act as SDSC point of contact.
The project is an alliance of 13 institutions to develop
the "Tree of Life."
"We are very excited about this opportunity,"
said Berman. "The Tree of Life team is a stellar
group and the project uses data technologies to provide
a foundation for new advances in the biosciences.
The Tree of Life will provide an important building
block for Cyberinfrastructure and complements the wide
spectrum of technology-enabled bioscience activities
The "Tree of Life" effort includes developing
computational tools to explore the evolutionary relationships
between all species of living organisms. Researchers
will be able to use comparisons of DNA sequences to
predict the relationships of existing plants and animals
to their common ancestors. The result will be a map,
long sought-after by biologists, that describes which
species have close common ancestors and which have more
distant relations. SDSC resources, including its new
DataStar machine and the TeraGrid will be applied to
Berman will also participate in a $8.25 million ITR
award for VGrADS, a project led by Ken Kennedy, the
Ann and John Doerr Professor in Computational Engineering
at Rice University. Berman, Henri Casanova, director
of SDSC and UCSD's Grid Research and Applications Laboratory,
and SDSC strategic advisor Andrew Chien, the Science
Applications International Corporation Chaired Professor
at UCSD, will collaborate with researchers at seven
other institutions to extend previous work in the Grid
Application Development Software (GrADS) Project. VGrADS
will simplify and accelerate the development of Grid
applications and services, while making the Grid accessible
to a larger community of users and developers. Ultimately,
VGrADS will assist researchers in areas such as bioinformatics,
weather prediction, and bioimaging; and act as a model
for other scientific communities interested in using
"It takes a degree in computer science to understand
today's parallel computers and several more years of
training to write code to use them efficiently,"
said Kennedy, who is the director of HiPerSoft, Rice's
Center for High Performance Software Research. "VGrADS
hopes to change that with tools that bring the power
of Grid computing within reach of the average scientist."
Director of the Knowledge-Based Information Systems
Lab at SDSC, Bertram Ludäscher, and Director of
Data Grid Technologies Lab at SDSC Arcot Rajasekar,
will serve as co-PIs on a $2.3 million medium ITR for
Real-Time Data Aware System for Earth, Oceanographic,
and Environmental Applications. Working with PI John
Orcutt of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other
collaborators, this project will focus on dynamically
adapting downstream processing and modeling as sensors
are added to or removed from a real-time data network.
The research will include work on methods to detect
automatically the occurrence of interesting phenomena
in real-time data streams and to trigger responses such
as data analysis, modeling computations or turning on
or off parts of the sensor network. The project will
also investigate how to extend data Grid ideas to include
real-time data streams and permit feedback between observations
and the operation of the observing network.
Ludäscher will also participate as a co-PI on
a small ITR for $375,000 to investigate new approaches
for querying data streams in XML form, covering the
spectrum from formal foundations all the way to systems.
The expected outcome of the project will be a qualitatively
new architecture, technology and query processor for
XML data streams, with impact on a wide range of applications.
The methods will be tested on seismic data provided
by the UCSD-based ROADNet project and is expected to
have a broad impact on voluminous XML data streams.
The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) is leading
the way in developing a national Cyberinfrastructure
that will provide the technological foundation for the
next generation of science and engineering advances.
Founded in 1985, SDSC is an organized research unit
of the University of California, San Diego. With a staff
of more than 400 scientists, software developers and
support personnel, SDSC is an international leader in
data management, biosciences, geosciences, Grid computing
Primarily funded by the National Science Foundation
(NSF), SDSC is the leading-edge site for The National
Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure
(NPACI), a 41-institution partnership to create computational
environments for tomorrow’s scientific discovery.
For more information, visit http://www.sdsc.edu.