Council on Academic Computing

March 24, 2006

Meeting Summary


The National Science Foundation’s TeraGrid Project

Charlie Catlett, a Senior Fellow at Argonne National Laboratory and Executive Director of NSF’s TeraGrid project, discussed the TeraGrid project.  NSF established TeraGrid in order to link many of the country’s high-performance computers, data resources and tools, and high-end experimental facilities.  These resources are jointly offered to the academic community via the project’s high-performance network connections.  The project is the world's largest, most comprehensive, openly available distributed cyberinfrastructure.  NSF recently announced a five-year, $150 million initiative to operate and enhance TeraGrid.

In 2001, NSF launched TeraGrid with an investment of $53 million.  TeraGrid initially linked resources at the University of IllinoisNational Center for Supercomputing Applications, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, Argonne National Laboratory, and California Institute of Technology’s Center for Advanced Computing Research.  The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center joined the project in 2002; and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Purdue University, Indiana University, and the University of TexasAdvanced Computing Center joined the project in 2003.  NSF invested $35 million in 2002 and $10 million in 2003 to link the additional sites to TeraGrid.

Three interlocking initiatives – Deep, Wide, and Open – serve as TeraGrid’s organizing principles.  TeraGrid Deep extends the project’s original focus by advertising its resources to scientists.  Scientific exploration is encouraged when researchers, who had not previously used the project’s resources, do so.  TeraGrid Wide encourages the broader academic community to use the project’s resources by partnering with discipline-specific groups.  Web portals, desktop tools, and local clusters and grid systems are offered to these groups through “science gateways.”  TeraGrid Open drives the evolution of the project’s software and services.  Project participants are working with the Open Science Grid and the NSF Middleware Initiative to increase interoperability between grid infrastructures.