From August 18, 2005, News-Sentinel
ORNL to have supporting role in Cyber Project
Lab to get $5.5M to operate TeraGrid gateway site
OAK RIDGE - Oak Ridge National Laboratory will play a supporting role in TeraGrid - a newly operable "cyberinfrastructure" that's supposed to make the nation's computing resources more widely available for scientific use.
The $150 million project, headed by the University of Chicago, was announced Wednesday by the National Science Foundation.
ORNL will receive $5.5 million over five years to operate a network that will share massive amounts of experimental data from the Spallation Neutron Source - the $1.4 billion research center that's set to begin operations in mid-2006.
The Oak Ridge lab is one of the TeraGrid "gateway" sites that will distribute information to users around the United States.
"Basically, TeraGrid is a dedicated point-to-point network and infrastructure with the software layered to negotiate the data and make it easier for users," Thomas Zacharia, ORNL's associate director for scientific computing, said Wednesday afternoon.
By 2008, the Spallation Neutron Source is expected to generate 250 terabytes of raw experimental data a year, and the accumulated data available to researchers will multiply each year.
In a statement, NSF Director Arden Bement said, "TeraGrid unites the science and engineering community so that larger, more complex scientific questions can be answered. Solving these larger challenges will, in turn, motivate the development of the next generation of cyberinfrastructure."
Cyberinfrastructure refers to the combined use of computing, storage, networking and other computer-related services.
TeraGrid was built over the past four years. It is billed as the world's largest and most comprehensive computing infrastructure established for open scientific use. Operators of the infrastructure will work closely with scientists whose research requires ultra-powerful computing, officials said.
ORNL has a stable of supercomputers, and the lab currently is working with Cray to develop the world's most powerful machine for open scientific uses. The advanced machines are used to study large-scale scientific challenges, such as global climate change, fusion energy and exploding stars.
Zacharia said TeraGrid also would make results from projects at ORNL's supercomputers more widely available to academic institutions.
He said the connectivity to the Southeast also enhances the region's chances for future research projects.
ORNL officials said the lab is linked to the TeraGrid "via the futurenet advanced optical network infrastructure," also connecting Atlanta to the Chicago hub.
According to information from the NSF, TeraGrid has 60 teraflops of computing power - 60 trillion calculations per second. It also has more than 1,000 terabytes of disk storage connected by a network "backbone" with a bandwidth ranging from 10 gigabits to 40 gigabits per second.
For more information about TeraGrid: www.teragrid.org.
Senior writer Frank Munger may be reached at 865-342-6329.
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