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February 22, 2013

Indiana University Scores Extreme Scale Computing Project

By Jody Ray Bennett, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Indiana University (News - Alert) just scored a $1.1 million grant from the United States Department of Energy to advance the design and processes of supercomputing. According to a report, “Indiana University's Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies (CREST) is the recipient of a three-year, $1.1 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop software that improves the speed and programmability of supercomputers. This funding is part of a $7.05 million grant for the XPRESS (eXascale PRogramming Environment and System Software) project, led by Sandia National Laboratories as part of the DOE Office of Science Advanced Scientific Computing Research X-Stack program.”

The CREST project was created in 2011 to conduct and advance research into this type of computing. Two of the industry’s leading figures, Andrew Lumsdaine and Thomas Sterling, also happen to professors at the School of Informatics (News - Alert) and Computing at IU Bloomington. The grant will assist the facilities to create software that “enables supercomputers to run more intelligently” and will essentially enable researchers to build a “guided supercomputer.”

But why are advances in supercomputing important? The report notes that “Today's fastest supercomputers perform about 10 quadrillion (one million billion) operations per second. By 2020, experts predict that exascale computers will perform one quintillion (one billion billion) calculations per second. However, it is not just speed that interests IU researchers—they are ultimately seeking to change how supercomputing works.”

The grant will enable a team of researchers and scientists develop these platforms, software, and test them over a period of several years. By the end of testing phases, the grant will help scientists run their software “across millions of processors” and thus “advance next-generation supercomputing while supporting research into solutions for civilization's biggest issues,” said Lumsdaine.

More information about CREST can be found at its website:

Edited by Rich Steeves

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