Skip to main content


Jacobs School dean Frieder Seible
11.10.03 -- How can today's (and tomorrow's) cyberinfrastructure help solve important problems such as earthquake damage control? That is a question Jacobs School dean Frieder Seible will try to answer, when he delivers a plenary address to the largest annual convention of the high-performance computing community. Supercomputing 2003 ( takes place Nov. 15-21 in Phoenix, AZ, and on Nov. 20, Seible will talk about "Physical Infrastructure Assessment and Protection to Mitigate Natural and Man-made Disasters."

Seible is part of a UCSD contingent of senior faculty and researchers from the Jacobs School, San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), and California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Cal-(IT)²] descending on Phoenix to discuss the current state of supercomputing and, more importantly, Grid computing and networking, as the focus of the annual conference shifts away from pure supercomputing.

Cal-(IT)² director Larry Smarr
CSE professor Andrew Chien

Nowhere will that re-purposing of the supercomputing industry be more evident, than in a panel discussion titled "SuperNetworking Transforming Supercomputing." And as evidence that the Jacobs School is on the cutting edge of the phenomenon, two of the five panelists are CSE faculty: Cal-(IT)² director Larry Smarr , and professor Andrew Chien. Smarr and Chien are also, respectively, principal investigator and chief software architect of the OptIPuter project ( that NSF funded to the tune of $13.5 million in 2002.

OptIPuter PI Smarr is expected to discuss his changing view of the nation's cyberinfrastructure, and how the high-performance computing industry must change to adapt to a new paradigm based on optical networking. Smarr was a pioneering architect of the nation's supercomputing facilities in the mid-1980s as founding director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Smarr and Chien will explain to SC2003 attendees how the OptIPuter is prototyping a radical new architecture for data-intensive, distributed e-Science research, including the rollout of a next-generation network on the UCSD campus. Their panel is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 3:30 p.m.

The following day, also at 3:30 p.m., OptIPuter project manager Maxine Brown will moderate a panel on "Strategies for Application-Empowered Networks." That discussion will include University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) professor Tom DeFanti, who is co-PI on the OptIPuter project and is leading the research team in Chicago . Apart from UCSD and UIC, OptIPuter academic partners include San Diego State University, University of Southern California (Information Sciences Institute), Northwestern University, Texas A&M, University of Amsterdam, and the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Center. Industry partners to date include Chiaro Networks, IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Telcordia Technologies, Inc. More than half a dozen of those institutions will showcase their participation in the OptIPuter project in their SC2003 exhibits.

At the Sun Microsystems exhibit on Nov. 17, Cal-(IT)² director Smarr will make a short presentation on the OptIPuter project, starting at 7:45 p.m. Among other UCSD research projects using Sun systems to be showcased in 15-minute presentations:

  • Geosciences: GEON (Dogan Seber, SDSC);
  • Computational chemistry: GAMESS (Kim Baldridge, SDSC); and
  • Biomedical imaging: Biomedical Informatics Research Network (Maryann Martone, NCMIR and SDSC, in collaboration with PRAGMA).

OptIPuter officials are also expected to announce partnerships with two companies that will supply hardware and software for UCSD's next-generation network.

A number of academic research units affiliated with Cal-(IT)² and the OptIPuter will be featured at the National Center for Research Resources. They include BIRN, the National Biomedical Computation Resource, and the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research. SDSC/NPACI will showcase OptIPuter research as one of several projects in multi-scale neuroscience (including Global Telescience, IPv6, BIRN and PRAGMA). By using technology and resources from these different projects, the presenters will demonstrate how high- performance visualization, tele-instrumentation, and infrastructure for collaborative data sharing all converge to address multi-scale challenges in biomedical imaging.

CSE professor Scott Baden

Finally, CSE professor Scott Baden and co-author Gregory Balls, a programmer analyst at SDSC, were picked to present one of sixty technical papers at SC2003. On Nov. 19 at 10:30 a.m., they will introduce conference-goers to "SCALLOP: A Highly Scalable Parallel Poisson Solver in Three Dimensions." Running on a variety of platforms, SCALLOP is a solver and library for elliptic partial differential equations on regular block-structured domains. It boasts low communication costs - on the order of a few percent of the total running time on up to 1,024 processors. SCALLOP trades off numerical overheads against communication, but those overheads are independent of the number of processors for a wide range of problem sizes.

Media Contacts:
   Doug Ramsey, (858) 822-5825

#  #  #

Print News Release  Email News Release

Search News


Subscribe to our Newsletter

RSS Feeds