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December 15, 2006
On December 7-8, 2006, the Computer and Information Technology Institute (CITI) at Rice University celebrated its 20th anniversary with a technical symposium that attracted a stellar collection of experts in the world of supercomputing.
The symposium and the dinner that preceded it also honored Ken Kennedy, the John and Ann Doerr University Professor of Computer Science at Rice, the founding director of CITI, and co-chair of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee from February 1997 to August 1999.
"In honor of the occasion, all of the speakers highlighted themes near and dear to Ken Kennedy's heart. The talks really brought home how far things have come in computer languages and programming tools, parallel and Grid computing, and education and policy issues. Even the projects that he wasn't directly involved in were in the spirit of his ideas," said Chuck Koelbel, a research scientist in Rice's department of computer science.
The speakers and their talks at the symposium, titled "Challenges in Computation and Information Technology," were:
Dan Reed, University of North Carolina, "Software Tools, Wish We Had Some."
Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM, "On the Threshold of a 21st-Century Business Revolution."
Susan Graham, University of California, Berkeley, "After 20 Years (or 40 Years), Software Development is Still Challenging."
James Browne, University of Texas, Austin, "Possible Futures for Software Development."
Richard Tapia, Rice University, "Underrepresentation: What Universities Still Don't Understand About Race."
Andy White, Los Alamos National Laboratory, "Expected and Unexpected Errors in Scientific Computing."
"Although the presenters were told they could talk about anything related to Challenges in Computation and Information Technology, all came back to issues related to software," said Moshe Y. Vardi, the Director of CITI and the Karen Ostrum George Professor in Computational Engineering.
CITI, the host for the event, was created in 1986 and has grown from the original 30 to more than 140 faculty members (almost 25 percent of Rice faculty) and research scientists spanning many disciplines. CITI serves as an umbrella for seven research centers:
Center for High Performance Software (HiPerSoft), Director: Ken Kennedy, Computer Science; Center for Multimedia Communication (CMC), Director: Behnaam Aazhang, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Center for Computational Geophysics (CCG), Co-directors: Bill Symes, Computational and Applied Mathematics, and Alan Levander, Earth Science; Center for Computational Finance & Economic Systems (CoFES), Director: Kathy Ensor, Statistics; LAboratory for NanoPhotonics (LANP), Director: Naomi Halas, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning (CTTL), Director: Tony Gorry, Computer Science; Center for Excellence and Equity in Education (CEEE), Director: Richard Tapia, Computational and Applied Mathematics.
From its roots in computer science, electrical and computer engineering, computational and applied mathematics, and statistics, CITI now includes faculty from 17 departments and almost every school at Rice. Its original research mandate for robotics and parallel computation has been broadened to include distributed computing, digital signal processing, telecommunications, optimization, data modeling and analysis, nanoengineering, and technologies in education.
Each director has brought something unique to CITI and the collaborative research community at Rice. When it was created in 1986, CITI was among the first institutions in the United States strictly focused on developing collaborative research opportunities at the interface of traditional academic disciplines.
As the need for computational infrastructure increased CITI has also taken on the challenge of developing and procuring larger shared computational resources. In the last five years CITI has coordinated collaborative proposals to the National Science Foundation and receiving funding for two major clusters (multi TeraFLOP) supporting computational research at Rice.
Of CITI and its accomplishments, Vardi said: "Ken Kennedy and his colleagues were perfect in their timing when they set up CITI. The computer revolution was exploding, things were moving very quickly, and Rice got into the field in a big way at just the right time. Today, we are the beneficiaries of Ken's foresight."
Among the almost 200 people attending the CITI dinner were:
Fran Allen, IBM Fellow emeritus.
Robert "Bob" Ballance, principal member of the technical staff in scientific computing at SNL.
Forest Baskett, general partner with New Enterprise Associates.
Peter Beckman, Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory.
Francine Berman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center.
Andrew Chien, vice president of Corporate Technology Group and, director of Intel Research, Intel Corporation.
Jack Dongarra, University Distinguished Professor, University of Tennessee.
Rich Hirsh, Kingsbridge Enterprises (formerly National Science Foundation and Science Foundation Ireland).
Neal Lane, Malcolm Gillis University Professor and senior fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University and former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
Vivek Sarkar, senior manager, Programming Technologies Department, IBM Research.
Steve Wallach, founder of Convex Computer and adviser to Centerpoint Venture partners, Sevin-Rosen, and Interwest.
"Ken's career has been all about software for high-performance computing. It's appropriate that many of the major figures in that field should travel to Houston to honor him," said Jan Odegard, executive director of CITI.
For a webcast of the symposium, visit http://webcast.rice.edu/index.php?action=details&event=845. Additional information on the event may be found at http://citi20.rice.edu.
Source: Rice University
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