Council on Academic Computing

January 23, 2007

Meeting Summary

Center for Molecular and Materials Simulations

Ken Jordan, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Molecular and Materials Simulations (CMMS), discussed the future of high-performance computing at the University of Pittsburgh.  Eight faculty members with a range of expertise in theoretical and computation methods are the primary users of CMMS.  These individuals use cutting-edge computational approaches and CMMS’ state-of-the-art computing hardware to conduct multidisciplinary research at the chemistry-biology interface, in nanoscience and nanoscale engineering, and in energy-related disciplines.

 Several challenges confront users of CMMS’ facilities.  Many of the grand-challenge computational problems involve many orders of magnitude in length or time.  Most current computational methods can handle only very narrow ranges of space and time.  The University must educate its students in “multiscale’ modeling, which incorporates different levels of activity and different time scales, into the same model.  It also is crucial for Pitt to be in the forefront in areas such as grid computing and parallel computing.

Report from Computing Services and Systems Development

Jinx Walton, Director of Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD), discussed the University’s wireless implementation plan.  Wireless networks soon will be installed in Benedum Hall, Eberly Hall, Hillman Library, Posvar Hall, and William Pitt Union.  The entire network should be completed by June 2008.  Additional information on the University’s wireless program is located at

Ms. Walton updated the Council on development of the Enterprise Exchange service.  Many University units manage their own Exchange servers.  Enterprise Exchange is centrally administered, so it is more cost-effective for the University and individual units.  Upgrades are more easily integrated system-wide, and security is more easily maintained.  However, the service can be tailored to the needs of individual units.  Approximately 30 University units use Enterprise Exchange.

Ms. Walton also discussed:

·         the spam and virus filters

·         Windows Vista

·         Love Your Computer Week

·         daylight savings time


Members of the Council discussed several other issues:

  • the academic computing seminar series
  • interdisciplinary projects
  • the multidisciplinary grant program