Press Archive

New PACI Website Focuses on User Needs

Published 01/22/2002

August, 28, 2001 – Scientists who use, or would like to use, the computational resources provided through the National Science Foundation's Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) program can now find all the information they need at

The new website combines information about the two PACI partnerships—the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) and the National Computational Science Alliance (Alliance)—and the Terascale Computing System at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) on a site that is easy to use and focused exclusively on the needs of researchers who use high-performance computing systems. Each year more than 5,000 scientists from across the U.S. use PACI resources for simulation, data analysis, and scientific visualization.

The new site features a specialized grid computing portal, the PACI HotPage (, which allows users to view the status of PACI resources and supports secure, interactive access to the resources. Based on the NPACI GridPort Toolkit, the PACI HotPage gives users direct access to their HPC accounts, job management tools, file systems, and system-wide information.

"Portal technologies such as the PACI HotPage make high-end computing more transparent for scientific researchers," said Mary Thomas, manager of SDSC's Computational Portals group, which developed GridPort. "This enables them to focus on getting scientific results rather than navigating complex HPC system environments." PACI users may create accounts using the online account wizard available at the PACI HotPage.

"The idea is to provide a single site for the PACI user community where they can find all the information they need to get their computing jobs done," said John Towns, director of the Scientific Computing Division at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the site that leads the Alliance. "The design is intentionally spartan and focuses only on getting users to the information that will answer their questions."

In addition, the new website for the first time permits researchers to submit allocation proposals online. The PACI Online Proposal System (POPS, lets users upload information about their requests and will soon be the primary means of submitting information to the various PACI allocation review committees. This NCSA-led development effort involved close collaboration among Alliance, NPACI, and PSC staff and has significantly improved the process for submitting proposals and the review and awards processes.

"The new website is a fine example of the Alliance, NPACI, and PSC working together to provide a unified source of information for PACI users," said Bob Stock, PSC associate director. "It's the linchpin of integrating the new Terascale Computing System into the PACI user-support system."

The PACI website is open to all and contains information for both current and prospective users, including detailed information on the resource allocation process for the National Resource Allocation Committee (NRAC), the review board that awards large allocations on PACI machines, and links to allocation information for the Alliance, NPACI, and PSC. The site also provides hardware and software information, user guides, information on consulting, security, and training, and a link to science success stories made possible through the use of PACI resources.

About SDSC/NPACI The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) is advancing science by creating a ubiquitous, continuous, and pervasive national computational infrastructure: the Grid. This infrastructure for the 21st century builds on dramatic advances in information technology to enable distributed research by interdisciplinary teams. NPACI is funded by the National Science Foundation and led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center. It joins some 30 other funded partners and 16 domestic and international affiliates and collaborates with the Alliance members on numerous projects.

SDSC is an organized research unit of the University of California, San Diego, and the leading-edge site of the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI). As a national laboratory for computational science and engineering, SDSC is funded by the National Science Foundation through NPACI and other federal agencies, the State and University of California, and private organizations.

About NCSA/the Alliance 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 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.

About PSC 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. PSC provides government, academic, and industrial users with access to one of the country's most powerful facilities for high-performance computing, communications and data-handling. PSC advances the state-of-the-art in high-performance computing, communications and informatics and offers a flexible environment to enable solving the largest and most challenging problems in computational science.

David Hart, SDSC

Karen Green, NCSA

Michael Schneider, PSC
(412) 268-5869

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