News Archive

NPACI to Feature Alphas, Teras, and Teraflops at SC99

Published 11/08/1999

Contact: David Hart, NPACI External Relations,

The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) will present its progress and plans in capability computing, discovery environments, and computational literacy to audiences at SC99, November 13-19 in Portland, Oregon. NPACI researchers will highlight, among many other partnership activities, the collaborative work from newly formed alpha projects, some of the latest images created using the world's only Tera MTA supercomputer, and how the partnership's teraflops IBM SP system will revolutionize the services available to the U.S. academic community.

The NPACI booth (R400) will play host to demonstrations and presentations by researchers across the partnership. Computational and computer scientists will discuss the progression of their work since NPACI was launched a short two years ago. Demonstrations will be conducted on a 60-inch projection monitor in the booth "theater" area. Other, more intimate, presentations will be held at workstation kiosks located throughout the booth. A complete list of demonstrations to be held in the NPACI booth can be found at

By special arrangement, NPACI Director Sid Karin will appear in the IBM booth on Tuesday, November 16, at 2:40 p.m., to discuss "Terascale Computing." NPACI is awaiting delivery of an IBM SP system capable of teraflops computing speed -- one trillion calculations per second. The machine will be the most powerful available to the U.S. academic community. Delivery is anticipated before the end of the year, and preparations -- including training for the unique system -- have been underway for several months.

As NPACI enters 2000, alpha projects have been formed from Technologies and Applications thrust area projects. The collaborative alpha projects, two of which will be demonstrated in the NPACI booth, merge complementary projects to make substantial progress in answering great questions in science. "Telescience for Advanced Tomographic Applications," an entrant in the SC99 HPC Games competition, combines innovation in telemicroscopy, remote instrumentation, metasystems, data-intensive computing, and scientific visualization to pursue deep understanding of the brain and its functioning. Mark Ellisman, leader of the alpha project and of the NPACI Neuroscience thrust area, is an invited speaker at SC99, presenting a talk on "Merging Advanced Microscopy with Advanced Computing" on Wednesday, November 17.

Another alpha project, "Scalable Visualization Toolkits," will also be presenting in the NPACI booth, focusing on "Visualization of Oceanography Data with ADR and MPIRE." In a separate presentation, the MPIRE software will be used on astronomy data, representing a project being undertaken with the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History's Rose Center for Earth and Space, located in New York City. The result, "Interactive Rendering of Interstellar Travel: A Near-Real Time Web-based Front End for MPIRE Galaxy Renderer," features graphics created on the world's only Tera MTA supercomputer, located at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), the leading-edge site of the NPACI partnership. Joel Saltz, leader of the Programming Tools and Environments thrust area and developer of ADR, will appear on a panel on Input/Ouput November 17, "Querying Very Large Multi-dimensional Data Sets in ADR."

"Massive File Transfers Over a Data Grid," another HPC Games entrant, will be demonstrated live in the NPACI booth. The project, which stems from the Data-Intensive Computing Environments (DICE) thrust area, exemplifies SDSC and NPACI's recognized world leadership in data-intensive computing. DICE thrust area leader Reagan Moore serves on a November 19 SC99 panel, "Beyond Grids: Large-Scale Computing in a Connected World." Carl Kesselman, a Metasystems thrust area participant from the University of Southern California, is also on the panel. Representing collaboration between DICE and the Metasystems thrust area, a November 18 Performance II panel, chaired by NPACI researcher Larry Carter of UC San Diego, will discuss "Adaptive Performance Prediction for Distributed Data-Intensive Applications." NPACI researchers Francine Berman of UC San Diego and Richard Wolski of the University of Tennessee will appear on the panel.

Representing the mission of computational literacy, a portion of the NPACI research exhibit will be dedicated to Education, Outreach, and Training (EOT). This thrust area collaborates with NPACI's sister partnership, the National Computational Science Alliance, through the joint Education, Outreach, and Training Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (EOT-PACI). Demonstrations from EOT-PACI will be held in the NPACI and Alliance booths, with presenters profiling projects that operate at the regional, state, and national levels.

Greg Moses, a co-chair of EOT-PACI and member of the NPACI Executive Committee, will present eTeach, a tool for experimenting with streaming video in the classroom. Rubin Landau, of Oregon State University, will demonstrate a Web-based system for teaching computational physics, and researchers Evans Craig and Amy Button, of the Albuquerque high Performance Computing Center at the University of New Mexico, will discuss applications of distance education for rural Native American communities.

NPACI partners make several other appearances on the SC99 technical program. Andrew Chien of UC San Diego is an invited speaker, discussing "Supercomputing on Windows NT Clusters: Experience and Future Directions," on November 16. NPACI Chief Computer Scientist Susan Graham, of UC Berkeley, is a panelist on November 16, discussing the transformation of science and engineering through technology, and will make another presentation to researchers from EPSCoR states later that same day. Andrew Grimshaw of the University of Virginia, leader of the Metasystems Thrust area and developer of the Legion software, chairs a November 17 panel session on Grid computing, with Richard Wolski serving on the session's "Running EveryWare on the Computational Grid" panel, with Neil Spring of the University of Washington. Wolski and Kesselman are also on the session's "Network Performance Tool for Grid Environments" panel.

Grimshaw will give a November 14 tutorial on "High-performance Computing with Legion." Kesselman is part of another tutorial, on November 15, on "The Globus Grid Programming Toolkit." Wolski chairs a Scheduling II session on November 17, with UC San Diego's Berman and Jennifer Schopf of Northwestern University discussing "Stochastic Scheduling." Later that day Berman appears on another panel, "It's the Software, Stupid: What We Really Need for Super Computing."

Other NPACI partners are active on the SC99 conference committee. NPACI researcher Cherri Pancake, of Oregon State University, is this year's conference chair, and SDSC's Ann Redelfs, NPACI EOT director, is the conference publicity coordinator. NPACI deputy director Margaret Simmons is the chair for invited talks. Other partners appear on the SC99 program committee, on the tutorials committee, the public relations committee, and the SCXY committee. The conference Webcast chair is SDSC staff scientist Greg Johnson, and other SDSC staff are extensively involved in the Internet airing of the conference. The University of Wisconsin's Trace Center, an EOT-PACI partner, is working with the webcast team to make all webcast sessions and presentations accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

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 ( and SDSC (, contact David Hart,