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San Diego Supercomputer Center Showcases Innovations in Geosciences, Biosciences and Grid Computing at SC2003

Building a Supercomputer in a Few Hours and more than 30 Presentations Highlight SDSC's Efforts

Published 11/14/2003

Innovative technology driving cutting-edge science now and in the future will be featured in the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) exhibit at SC2003, the annual conference of high performance computing November 15-21 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Visitors to the SDSC/NPACI (National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure) booth # 2532 can witness breakthroughs in data movement, grid technology, visualization, bioinformatics and Earth sciences.

SDSC's leadership and expertise in data technologies will be displayed in special themed days that highlight the center's key activities. Tuesday, November 18, will be GEON day featuring GEON, the Geoscience Network and several other Earth sciences demonstrations. Wednesday's focus will be Biosciences with demonstrations ranging from the Encyclopedia of Life to a computational approach to studying the carcinogenesis of estrogen, which provides a deeper understanding of the molecular biology of cancer. Grid applications, including the TeraGrid and NPACI Grid, take center stage on Thursday.

"We're excited to showcase the successes of SDSC and NPACI partners who are developing the tools for Cyberinfrastruture," said Fran Berman, director of SDSC and NPACI. "In addition to demonstrations showing our research, development and deployment of data technology, SC2003 is also a chance for us to present details on the work surrounding NPACKage, NPACI Grid and TeraGrid. Researchers have produced stellar results and are helping to spur advances in scientific research."

The SDSC/NPACI exhibit contains four demonstration areas that will open during SC2003's gala reception Monday evening and operate virtually non-stop during show hours until the conference closes Thursday afternoon. Headlining the booth's Big Screen area will be presentations on several key SDSC/NPACI projects including GridSAT: Solving Problems of Propositional Satisfiability using Cyberinfrastructure; Data Intensive Computing in the National Virtual Observatory and High Performance Grid-Enabled Movement. A complete schedule of SDSC demonstrations can be found at

The Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN), an NPACI partner, will conduct presentations in a dedicated area in the SDSC booth. BIRN is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)/ National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)-sponsored initiative that fosters large-scale biomedical science collaborations by utilizing emerging cyberinfrastructure (high speed networks, distributed high-performance computing and the necessary software and data integration capabilities). BIRN will demonstrate how high performance visualization, tele-instrumentation, and infrastructure for collaborative data-sharing all converge to solve multi-scale challenges in biomedical imaging.

Building A Supercomputer

In what is expected be an SC2003 highlight, a team of cluster computing experts from SDSC will assemble, install from scratch, and demonstrate real applications on a supercomputing-class cluster in a matter of a few hours at the show.

The SDSC/NPACI Rocks cluster team will begin assembling a 128-node Sun Fire, V60x supercomputer Monday at 7:00 p.m. and intends to be running applications approximately two hours later on a machine expected to rank among the 200 fastest supercomputers in the world. The demonstration, in Sun Microsystems, SC2003 booth (#623), will illustrate how NPACI Rocks software and the Sun Grid Engine Enterprise Edition enable users to more easily set up and manage powerful, yet relatively inexpensive, cluster computers. Information on the cluster construction will also be available in the SDSC/NPACI booth.

Grid Milestones

New milestones in grid technology will be featured at the SDSC/NPACI booth. SDSC staff will demonstrate the use of IBM's General Parallel File System (GPFS) in a large-scale grid environment spanning several sites and long distances. During the demonstration, GPFS will be extended from SDSC and TeraGrid partner NCSA and used with IBM Itanium 2 TeraGrid systems distributed among the SDSC and NCSA booths on the SC2003 show floor. The demonstration will use TeraGrid disk servers at both centers to move data across the TeraGrid network to compute nodes in the booths, where the data can then be used by scientific applications. It will be the first time GPFS will be used at multiple locations over the TeraGrid network. Using GPFS, each machine in the distributed system will have the same view of the file systems and will be able to access the same files simultaneously across the TeraGrid Wide Area Network.

Other grid demonstrations include:

  • GridSAT: Solving Problems of Propositional Satisfiability using Cyberinfrastructure. By combining Grid resources, GridSAT has solved previously unsolved problems in propositional satisfiability-a problem domain critical to disciplines such as circuit design and verification, operations research and cryptogpraphy. It also demonstrates the potential benefits of ubiquitous cyberinfrastructure.

  • Utilizing the Power of NPACKage and the NPACI Grid, a demonstration of how scientists have used NPACKage and the NPACI Grid to create a customized environment for sharing expanded resources with an entire research community from a single location.

  • NPACI Grid Portals Project demonstrating recent advances in the GridPort toolkit.

  • GrADS: Adaptive Grid Application Development Tools. The GrADS project is developing a compiler and runtime technologies that enable applications to detect and adapt to changes in their resource environment.


The San Diego Supercomputer Center's (SDSC) mission is to innovate, develop and deploy technology to advance science. SDSC is involved in an extensive set of collaborations and activities at the intersection of technology and science whose purpose is to enable and facilitate the next generation of scientific advances. Founded in 1985 and primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), 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 and visualization.

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