Big dividends expected from Joint Institute
by R. Cathey Daniels
Oak Ridger staff
Officials gathered today to kick off a three-way partnership that is
expected to pay big dividends in the future for Oak Ridge National
Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and the state.
The $10 million Joint Institute for Computational Sciences and the Oak
Ridge Center for Advanced Studies are being touted as a "landmark"
project located at the ORNL complex. It will be funded by the state and
managed jointly by the laboratory and UT.
"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 in a written statement. "We look forward to
collaborating with Dr. John Shumaker and the University of Tennessee to
strengthen the research programs at both institutions."
Gov. Sundquist said: "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. 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
UT President John Shumaker echoed the sentiment.
"The University of Tennessee benefits significantly from this
partnership. 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."
According to a press release, the new 52,000-square-foot facility will
house two programs: One to promote the use of high-performance computer
resources in Tennessee, and another to establish a 21st-century "think
tank" for exploring science and technology issues.
The Joint Institute 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.
Thomas Zacharia, ORNL associate laboratory director for Computing and
Computational Sciences, said the new facility would be "crucial" to the
"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 Zacharia.
The Center for Advanced Studies is expected to bring together
scientists and educators from leading institutions across the nation to
form the "intellectual core" of a 21st-century think tank, according to
the press release.
"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," said Madia. "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 the Center will meet this
fall in Washington, D.C., with researchers from the National Academy of
Sciences and key universities and industries to address energy
"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."
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 building contractor for the new facility is CMC Construction of Oak
Ridge. Completion is expected in January 2004.
R. Cathey Daniels can be contacted at (865) 220-5515 or
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