NSF awards $10M for experimental supercomputing network to IU, Fox to lead

Geoffrey Fox, a swell guy and notable figure in HPC for many years, will lead the team of universities headed by Indiana University in executing a new project largely funded by the NSF to develop new software and techniques for linking supercomputers together to solve very large scale problems. The total value of the project is $15M, of which $5M comes from partners (including the Lilly Endowment) and $10.1M from the NSF.

The grant will enable construction of an experimental supercomputing network to be called FutureGrid, which will be made of almost 1,400 advanced computer processing units at Bloomington and five other locations in the United States.

…”FutureGrid will serve as a proving ground for new, distributed computing systems and will open up exciting new avenues for scientific collaboration and research,” Fox said. “We envision the grids and clouds of the future not as a single system, but as many linked systems. For this reason we are engaging an incredible set of academic and commercial partners throughout the U.S. and in Europe to participate in FutureGrid.”

FutureGrid partners include UCSD, UCLA, U Chicago/Argonne, U Florida, UT Austin, Purdue, and the Technical University of Dresden, Germany. The project will include purchasing new supercomputers for the network, and those acquisitions are already under way according to the university.

[Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology] said one way of looking at the FutureGrid network is to think of it as “an experiment factory” in which supercomputers can be interconnected in a myriad of different ways to find out which connections and software combinations work together and which do not.

FutureGrid is expected to be operational by the spring.

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