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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee’s Innovative Computing Laboratory is sharing $8.25 million with five other schools for research that will enable more people to use powerful “grids” of interconnected computers.

The five-year grant is one of only eight National Science Foundation Information Technology Research awards this year larger than $4 million.

Computer grids enable databases, remote instruments, processing power, and other resources to be shared and combined as a single, unified resource for solving large-scale computer problems in medicine, high-energy physics and other data-intensive applications.

Dr. Jack Dongarra, who directs the UT center, said the project will create software to make computational grids more accessible, useable and efficient.

“Grid computing promises to help solve problems in science and engineering by connecting computers, databases, remote equipment and people, but the difficulty of writing efficient programs to take advantage of such diverse resources limits its use,” Dongarra said.

“This project will create software tools to simplify and accelerate development of grid applications and services. It will greatly expand the community of grid users and developers.”

The other universities sharing the grant are Rice University; University of California, Santa Barbara and San Diego; University of Houston; University of Illinois; and University of Southern California.

More information about this award can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/03/pr03103.htm

For more information about the Innovative Computing Laboratory go to http://icl.cs.utk.edu/