Council on Academic Computing

November 13, 2008

Meeting Summary


Center for Simulation and Modeling

Ken Jordan, Professor of Chemistry, discussed the Center for Simulation and Modeling, which he co-directs.  The most challenging computational problems in a wide range of disciplines, including the sciences, engineering, and public health, require the development of multi-scale techniques that allow simulation to bridge orders of magnitude in time and length scales.  The Center will provide the know-how and resources to develop methods that exploit multi-scale modeling.  In particular, the Center will provide technical support, sponsor and coordinate courses in advanced computing, and support a lecture series on topics related to advanced computing. 

Multi-scale techniques require greater computing power than is typically available to a single researcher.  Until recently, increases in CPU speed almost singlehandedly drove enhancements in computing power.  Further significant enhancements in computational power will depend upon increased numbers of cores per CPU and parallel computing (rather than increasing CPU clock speed).  The Center will provide computing resources that build upon these advances.  Resources will be available at the Center for Molecular and Materials Simulations; via a campus-wide network called PittGrid; and at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.