UT Lands $10 Million NSF Visualization Grant

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The University of Tennessee has announced that it will receive a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation [NSF] over four years in order to establish a state-of-the-art visualization and data analysis center.  The Teragrid eXtreme Digital Resources for Science and Engineering (XD) award will be used to fund UT’s Center for Remote Data Analysis and Visualization (RDAV).  RDAV is founded upon a partnership between UT, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Wisconsin, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications [NCSA] and Oak Ridge National Laboratory [ORNL].

For a scientist, visualization is more than just generating pretty pictures,” said ORNL/UT Astrophysicist Bronson Messer. “As our simulations grow larger and larger, visualization and the associated data analysis are absolutely essential in producing scientific insight from computation.”

RDAV will provide remote visualization and image generation, data and statistical analysis, workflow systems and a variety of other software resources out to the Teragrid community.  Much of the RDAV work will rely on a new SGI shared-memory platform, named Nautilus.  The new machine will come packed with 1,024 cores, 4TB of memory and 16 GPUs.

I believe this will be the largest shared-memory machine for analysis on the planet,” said the project’s Principal Investigator (PI) Sean Ahern, who is currently the visualization task lead at ORNL and will serve as director of RDAV. “No one has ever done this before. The new system will handle data analysis algorithms that can’t be deployed on more traditional distributed memory systems.”

Congrats to the RDAV team on the new award.  For more info, read the full writeup here.


  1. Over at VizWorld, we’ve got names and tasks for the people on the new project that you might want to check out.