Notre Dame Center for Research Computing Established

Author: William G. Gilroy


The University of Notre Dames Office of Information Technologies (OIT) and Office of Research have established a Center for Research Computing (CRC).

The new center, a joint effort between the OIT, Office of Research and three Notre Dame colleges, will support the research agenda of the University through high availability of managed computing assets and staff with expertise in the application of these resources to multidisciplinary research interests. The CRC will be housed on the first floor of the Universitys Information Technology Center.

This (the CRC) has been a goal of the University for some time,said Jeffrey Kantor, dean of the graduate school and vice president for research.

Kantor worked with Gordon Wishon, Notre Dames chief information officer, to plan and obtain funding to launch the initiative.

Wishon, who also serves as associate provost and associate vice president, said the CRC will be powered by massive parallel computer clusters at Notre Dames off-site data center in downtown South Bends Union Station, connecting to campus via optical fiber provided by the St. Joseph Valley MetroNet. The CRC, Wishon noted, also will host an on-campus access grid and videoconferencing center.

The CRC will be the primary interface to the Northwest Indiana Computational Grid (NWICG), a federally funded project enabling interconnection of supercomputers via a high-speed, wide-area research network under joint development by Notre Dame, Purdue University and the Department of Energys Argonne National Laboratory.

Dewitt Latimer, chief technology officer, assistant provost and assistant vice president, has been appointed interim director of the CRC, according to Wishon.

The search for a full-time director of the CRC will begin early next year, Wishon said. He anticipates that the center will be in its new facilities with a permanent director by the summer of 2006.

The new CRC will significantly enhance the University research capabilities through large-scale computing, new data visualization systems, vast data storage, and dedicated research computing staff,Latimer said.

Research computing is no longer more and more number crunching,said Peter Kogge, Notre Dames associate dean of computer science and engineering.It is, instead, an integrated ensemble of high-bandwidth communication between disparate labs and facilities; large online repositories for increasingly complex data sets; visualization to improve our ability to understand results; and increasingly sophisticated methods for ganging massive numbers of computing facilities onto modeling, data mining and highly non-numeric applications.

Kogge said the NWICG will further research in many areascomputational drug design, global environmental change and disaster mitigation and response,to name a few.

The Notre Dame CRC will connect the Notre Dame campus network with StarLight Gigapop in Chicago with subsequent high-speed connections to other research networks like Internet2s Abilene backbone, the Department of Energys ESnet, and other intercontinental optical networks.

The combination of high-speed data, voice and video transmission capabilities will enable closer collaboration with researchers at other institutions throughout the world,Latimer said.

The CRC support staff will be composed of members from various offices within the University including the OIT, University Research, the College of Engineering, the College of Science and the College of Arts and Letters.

Contact: Dewitt Latimer, assistant provost, information technologies, 574-631-7783, .

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