Council on Academic Computing

December 17, 2009

Meeting Summary


Center for Simulation and Modeling

Ken Jordan, Professor of Chemistry, discussed the Center for Simulation and Modeling, which he co-directs.  The Center provides resources to all University researchers who conduct computationally intensive research.  Professor Jordan and the Center’s other Co-Director, Karl Johnson, are meeting with University faculty members in order to publicize the Center.  To date, they have met with more than 30 faculty and research groups.  Currently, the Center is helping to facilitate six research projects.

Since its inception, the Center has:

  • hired three consultants to help people prepare the programming code necessary to conduct their research
  • sponsored two mini-courses in order to educate the University community in the use of parallel computing (and a third course is planned for 2010)

In the future, the Center will sponsor:

  • A three-day symposium on the application of graphics processing units (GPUs) in chemistry and materials science (jointly with the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center)
  • A seminar series, which will initially focus on University faculty members in order to familiarize them with each others’ work

They have also submitted a proposal to NSF’s IGERT program, established a partnership program with NVIDIA, and attended the Supercomputing Conference 2009.

Report from Computing Services and Systems Development

Jinx Walton, Director of Computing Services and Systems Development, discussed several changes to CSSD systems.  Her staff replaced the Pittsburgh campus’ voice mail system, launched a web conferencing service, and introduced the voicemail-to-email service.  Ms. Walton also discussed placing research-based servers at the Network Operations Center and creating disaster recovery sites for enterprise services.

High Performance Computing Upgrade

The University recently applied for an NSF grant, which would enable it to upgrade its high-performance computing environment.  The University proposed installing dense-wave multiplexing technology to upgrade the speed and capacity of the University’s data communications backbone.  The project focuses upon links between the Network Operations Center, located in RIDC Park, and computing intensive units at the Pittsburgh campus.