October 27, 2000


Dallas, TEXAS — The National Computational Science Alliance (Alliance) research exhibit at SC2000 will include a cluster of Intel Itanium-based systems and a scalable tiled wall.

For the first time in its four-year history, the Alliance’s research exhibit will include a 16-processor cluster of four four-processor Intel Itanium-based machines. The Alliance cluster development team has been working with the experimental Itanium-based server cluster for several months, and several scientific codes have already achieved dramatically improved performance levels. Another new feature of this year’s exhibit will be a scalable tiled wall powered by 1 GHz Pentium III processor-based workstations. The tiled wall uses six projectors to show images with a resolution of 3,000 x 1,500 pixels. It will be used to display images computed on the Itanium-based server cluster and on a 16-processor 32-bit cluster, and as an Access Grid node.

SC2000, the annual high-performance computing and networking conference, will be held in Dallas, Nov. 4 -10. The SC2000 exhibit hall opens with a VIP reception from 7 – 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6. Exhibit hall hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, and Wednesday, Nov. 8, and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9. The Alliance booth is R804.

“We intend to use this year’s supercomputing conference to demonstrate commodity computing architectures – such as large Itanium-based server clusters–for our user community,” said Dan Reed, director of the Alliance and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the leading-edge site for the Alliance. “In addition, we will show how the Alliance is continuing to build grid infrastructure and give scientists new and innovative ways to conduct their research.”

Five demos are planned that will use the Itanium-based server cluster for computation. Astrophysicist Ed Seidel and his team from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) will use Cactus, a toolkit used for computer simulations in a variety of scientific disciplines, to simulate a collision of two black holes, with live streaming visualization and interactive control of the simulation as it runs. According to Seidel, Cactus has already achieved record performance levels on the Itanium-based server cluster. The Cactus demo will be Webcast and will be accessible through the SC2000 Webcasts page ( ) the week of the conference.

Another application with outstanding performance on the Itanium architecture is simplified Piecewise Parabolic Method (sPPM). Paul Woodward, an Alliance researcher at the University of Minnesota, will use sPPM to simulate 2D supersonic flow with complex shock interactions. In two additional Itanium cluster demonstrations, NCSA’s Dave Semeraro will use the Visualization Toolkit (VTK) to visualize time varying electromagnetic fields around several targets and to visualize the flowfield around an F-18 fighter plane. These applications were developed by Department of Defense (DoD) researchers at Wright-Paterson Air Force Base. NCSA’s visualization group helped visualize the results using a version of VTK that supports MPI for communication among multiple processors. Another demo, presented by Mike Wiltberger of Dartmouth College and NCSA’s Scott Koranda, will use the Itanium-based server cluster to model the Earth’s magnetosphere.

When the tiled wall is not being used to display scientific visualizations, it will serve as an Access Grid node, connecting show participants at various booths in the exhibit hall and at remote sites across the country. The Access Grid, an ensemble of resources that uses high-speed networks to link people in virtual spaces, will be used to connect faculty with Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and high schools to talk about strategies for involving more minority groups and women in computational science and engineering. The MSI faculty will be at SC2000 through grant money from IEEE and the ACM and will participate in the talk at the Alliance booth. Others will participate remotely through Access Grid nodes at Boston University and the San Diego Supercomputer Center. The virtual rap session is planned for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Other demos planned for the Alliance booth include:

* NCSA’s Open Portal Interface Environment (OPIE), a new Web windowing environment that helps scientists integrate data, research tools, and other information into a customizable Web portal. Visitors to the Alliance booth will see how OPIE allows the user to interact with scientific applications and HPC monitoring tools in a secure Web environment. In addition, a wireless version of OPIE will be shown using a Palm VII.

* Researchers from the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) will lead an international collaborative demo connecting UIC, a booth at the Telecom2000 conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the Alliance booth in Dallas. The demonstration will include earthquake, atmospheric science, and image-based volume visualizations. These visualizations will be used to showcase the latest generation of CAVERNsoft, a library that supports collaboration among desktop environments.

* The Alliance Cosmology team will show new algorithms and results of cosmological simulations done on NCSA’s Origin2000 capability cluster. These will include Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) simulations of galaxy formation, large-scale structure of galaxies, and metal enrichment and reionization of the intergalactic medium.

* Alliance researcher Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee will demonstrate NetSolve, ATLAS, and PAPI. NEtSolve is a set of grid-based tools that allows a user to remotely access computer hardware and software. ATLAS and PAPI are tools used to enhance performance and performance measurement.

* The Alliance Chemical Engineering team will perform multiscale electrochemical calculations using the Alliance Chemical Engineering Portal. The demo will show how the new portal can utilize grid services – such as Argonne’s and USC’s Globus toolkit – to solve scientific problems from the desktop.

* The NSF’s Education, Outreach and Training Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (EOT-PACI) will participate in several demonstrations in the Alliance booth. Richard Alo, University of Houston-Downtown, will give a presentation on outreach programs developed to improve minority representation in computing. Evans Craig of the University of New Mexico will use the Access Grid to collaborate with educators at five Tribal colleges in the southwest. The five schools are part of the Southwest Regional Virtual Collaborative Grid, a new initiative to enhance network connectivity and promote grid technologies and their educational benefits among Tribal colleges and the Native American community.

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.

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.


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