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KNOXVILLE—The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been awarded $18 million to help create a new generation of linkages among high-performance computers and research facilities across the nation. The new supercomputing grid will create a powerful tool for taking on some of the most complex problems in science.

Xsede LogoThe National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS) will carry out the project, which is part of a $121 million National Science Foundation program to improve connections between high-performance computers, data sources, and experimental facilities. NICS is an NSF center housed in the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences which is jointly operated by UT Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“The University of Tennessee is committed to scientific discovery and innovation,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “We are proud to continue to support the thousands of scientists that use this grid as they seek to make this world a better place to live through their research.”

The new five-year program, called Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, or XSEDE, will replace the TeraGrid linkage that now connects the country’s supercomputing resources. NICS is partnering with the University of Illinois, the lead institution on XSEDE.

“The XSEDE grid will allow scientists and engineers to create scientific workflows and gateways, analyze data, and model complex phenomena,” said Patricia Kovatch, director of operations for XSEDE and project director of NICS.

The supercomputers in the XSEDE grid will continue to help solve the world’s toughest dilemmas such as climate change, fatal diseases, and the energy crisis through climate modeling, drug design, or DNA sequencing, and various types of simulation.

NICS manages the NSF supercomputing complex that includes Kraken, a Cray XT5 that is the fastest academic computer in the world, as well as Nautilus, a powerful shared-memory computer used to analyze and visualize the results of computations by other supercomputers.

Eighteen NICS scientists, specialists, and software developers will participate in the XSEDE grant. NICS staff will collect and evaluate the needs and requirements of scientists who use the new grid.

Kovatch has been a principal in expanding both Kraken and another UT computer, Athena, which is located on the university’s Knoxville campus.

Since 2008, NICS has received nineteen NSF awards totaling more than $111 million. NICS employs more than fifty full-time NICS employees, engaged in national high-performance computing work.

The XSEDE project is a broad collaboration involving not only NICS and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, but also the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, the Texas Advanced Computing Center, and the San Diego Supercomputing Center.

In addition to UT and Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, other participating institutions include the Shodor Education Foundation, the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Jülich Supercomputing Centre, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Carnegie Mellon University, Rice University, Indiana University, and the universities of Pittsburgh, Texas at Austin, Virginia, Chicago, Purdue, Cornell, Ohio State, and California at San Diego.

C O N T A C T  :

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460, wholmes7@utk.edu)

Bill Dockery (865-974-2187,dockeryb@utk.edu)