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Through the ORNL-UT Joint Institute for Computational Sciences and DOE's Center for Computational Sciences (both of which will be housed in new buildings at ORNL), ORNL's new Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate has many partnerships with universities, industrial firms, and other research laboratories.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Artist’s concept of the new building to house the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, as well as the new Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies.
Artist’s concept of the new building to house the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, as well as the new Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies.

A new $10-million, 45,000-square-foot building on the ORNL campus will be constructed for the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (JICS), as well as the new Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies (ORCAS). JICS was established in 1991 through the Science Alliance, a University of Tennessee (UT) Center of Excellence that seeks to promote collaborative relationships between research groups in the UT system and ORNL. JICS was created to encourage and facil-itate the effective use of high-performance computing resources in the state of Tennessee. In pursuit of its main goal, JICS directs activities in the areas of research, education and training, and technology transfer.

In research, JICS personnel consult with researchers on individual application codes and recommend target archi-tecture(s), tools for writing parallel codes, visualization toolkits, graphical user interfaces, and homogeneous or heterogeneous parallel implementations.

In education and training, JICS staff conduct classes, organize seminars and workshops, and participate in one-on-one and small group educational activities.

“An important feature of JICS is the strong collaboration between researchers at ORNL and faculty and students at UT,” says ORNL’s Buddy Bland. “These collaborations are under the new umbrella of the ORNL-UT Computational Sciences Initiative. For example, Jack Dongarra’s group of 40 or so researchers and graduate students at UT is developing performance tools to enable researchers to run their scientific simulation codes at the most efficient supercomputing level of power, using resources at ORNL. One application in which there is a strong collaboration is climate prediction.” UT is making funds available to support tool development research for which ORNL provides access to its supercomputers.

“The Computational Sciences Initiative makes collaborators more competitive for research grants,” says Science Alliance Director Jesse Poore, “because researchers can draw on the combined strength of ORNL and UT. In addition, they gain ready access to terascale computing facilities.” The initiative is open to all facets of science and engineering research and education. Research selected for the program is of strategic importance to both UT and ORNL. JICS will oversee the initiative. Seminars to acquaint interested UT and ORNL researchers with the opportunities available have already begun.

Future goals of JICS include partnerships with government, private industry, and other universities, emphasizing expansion of collaborative research, training in high-performance computing, expanded use of clusters of heterogeneous computing environments, and tech-nology transfer and consulting to benefit the private sector. Through these types of collaborations, JICS is working to earn for Tennessee an international reputation in the use of massive parallel processing.

DOE’s Center for Computational Sciences (CCS) at ORNL has part-nerships with universities, governmental institutions, and major industrial firms, including IBM and Compaq corporations. These part-nerships are essential to solving complex scientific problems using supercom-puters and to advancing computer science and scientific research.

CCS has partnerships with the core universities of UT-Battelle, which manages ORNL for DOE. These universities are Duke University, Florida State University, North Carolina State University, Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, and UT.

CCS is part of ORNL’s first scientific collaboration with the IBM Research Division in Zurich, Switzerland. The goal of this collaboration is to develop a quantum-dot array to do innovative computations. (See ORNL Review, Vol. 34, No. 2, 2001, Quantum-Dot Arrays for Computation for more details).

Thanks to David McQueeney, vice president of IBM Communication Technology, IBM fellowships will allow five postdoctoral scientists to split their time between ORNL and IBM. One of these “shared postdocs” will work on the quantum-dot array project.

In August 2001, ORNL signed a cooperative research and development agreement with IBM to help develop its next-generation supercomputer—the 100-teraflops Blue Gene, which will be used to relate gene sequences and protein structures to human diseases. In this collaboration, ORNL and IBM researchers will explore the limits of scalability in high-performance computing. Because this machine will have hundreds of thousands of processors, ORNL researchers will help develop fault-tolerant algorithms to allow the supercomputer to work around processors that fail and will provide their expertise in using computing to predict protein structures.

Clearly, ORNL’s supercomputing personnel have good connections.

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Center for Computational Sciences
ORNL-UT Joint Institute for Computational Science

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