MEDIA CONTACT: Cindy Ross Lundy
Communications & Community Outreach
ORNL groundbreaking celebrates landmark partnership
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 22, 2002 -- A groundbreaking ceremony held
today at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory
marks a first-of-its-kind partnership among ORNL, the state of
Tennessee and the University of Tennessee.
Construction of the new facility to house the Joint Institute for
Computational Sciences and the Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies
occurs as part of a landmark project fusing the resources of DOE's
largest multipurpose laboratory and the state's flagship university.
Located inside the ORNL complex, the $10 million JICS/ORCAS facility
is being funded by the state of Tennessee and will be managed jointly
by UT and the laboratory.
"We at ORNL are extremely grateful to Don Sundquist and the Tennessee
Legislature for their vision in funding this facility," said ORNL
Director Bill Madia. "We look forward to collaborating with Dr. John
Shumaker and the University of Tennessee to strengthen the research
programs at both institutions."
Gov. Sundquist shares Madia's enthusiasm. "Many of us in Nashville
were excited by the opportunity to help the University of Tennessee
develop such a close and valuable partnership with Oak Ridge National
Laboratory," Sundquist said. "Our flagship university now has access
to equipment, talent and research facilities that we otherwise could
never hope to have. This is an investment that will pay dividends for
years to come at both UT and ORNL."
The new 52,000-square-foot facility will house two important
programs: one to promote the use of high-performance computer
resources in Tennessee, and another to establish a 21st century
"think tank" for exploring major science and technology issues.
The University of Tennessee established the Joint Institute for
Computational Sciences in 1991 to encourage and facilitate the
effective use of high-performance computing resources in the state.
The relationship with ORNL expanded when UT joined Battelle in April
2000 to manage the laboratory.
"The University of Tennessee benefits significantly from this
partnership," said UT President John Shumaker. "The university
community is able to utilize computational research without solely
building and maintaining the hardware. Perhaps more important, our
faculty gain access to one of the world's largest computers--an
opportunity that would be unthinkable in the traditional university
environment. The contribution of this joint initiative to our
research mission will be enormous."
The new JICS facility will be part of ORNL's efforts to expand the
lab's high-performance computing capacity. Already home to the eighth
fastest computer in the world, ORNL has been selected by the
Department of Energy to develop a new computer that will challenge
the Japanese Earth Simulator as the world's most powerful.
"The expanded partnership with UT will strengthen ORNL's ability to
compete for a variety of new research programs in areas such as
genomics, climate change, and national security that require enormous
computing capabilities," said Thomas Zacharia, ORNL associate
laboratory director for Computing and Computational Sciences. "The
construction of this facility is crucial to our efforts."
DOE's Center for Computational Sciences at ORNL has partnerships with
universities, government institutions and major industrial firms. The
partnerships are essential to solving complex scientific problems
that require the enormous power of supercomputers.
The other program to be housed in the new facility, the Oak Ridge
Center for Advanced Studies, will bring together scientists and
educators from leading institutions across the nation to form the
intellectual core of a 21st century "think tank."
"ORCAS is a unique partnership in the Southeastern United States
among ORNL, its partner universities, and other national and
international experts," Madia said. "Our purpose is to bring together
some of the greatest minds in the world to work on scientific
challenges that are too big for any single laboratory or university.
The program will be comparable with facilities like the Santa Fe
Institute in New Mexico and the Aspen Institute in Colorado."
Madia added that visionary thinkers from ORCAS will meet this fall in
Washington, D.C., with researchers from the National Academy of
Sciences and key universities and industries to address energy
infrastructure assurance. "The results should help us understand
energy assurance implications for future energy systems," he said.
"This symposium provides an excellent example of how ORCAS can enable
our scientists, and those of many other institutions, to concentrate
their expertise on issues crucial to our nation."
Building contractor for the JICS/ORCAS facility is CMC Construction
of Oak Ridge. The facility is scheduled for completion in January