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Governors support ORNL computing

RESOLUTION: 'High performance computing is central to the future of the science driven economy of the South.'

By: Paul Parson, Oak Ridger Staff

High performance computing is central to the future of a science-driven economy, according to Gov. Phil Bredesen, who recently co-sponsored a resolution supporting Oak Ridge National Laboratory's goal to boost its technological capabilities.

Billy Stair, a spokesman for ORNL, said the resolution supports the plan to house the world's fastest supercomputer.

Sponsored by Bredesen and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, the resolution was adopted during a recent meeting of Southern governors in Washington, D.C. and carries the support of close to a dozen governors.

With the resolution, the Southern Governors' Association is sending a message to Congress and the executive branch to provide financial support for high performance computing initiatives.

"High performance computing is central to the future of the science driven economy of the South, especially in the areas of bioinformatics and computational biology, climate and carbon systems modeling, and nanoscience modeling," the resolution states.

According to the Southern Governors' Association, a high performance supercomputer network grid can foster tremendous research and development opportunities for universities and federal research labs throughout the South.

In November, the 22nd edition of the "Top 500" list of the world's fastest supercomputers once again ranked as No. 1 Japan's Earth Simulator, which can perform 35.8 trillion operations per second. The list is compiled by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California and the University of Mannheim in Germany.

ORNL officials hope to out-distance the competition with a supercomputer that could be completed by 2008. The computer is expected to be extremely faster than the Japanese supercomputer.

Stair said ORNL is working on a proposal to build what he described as a "leadership class computer." The proposals must be submitted to the Department of Energy by April 2, with the federal government deciding afterward which team would get the computer project.

According to Stair, ORNL will be working with several universities, including the University of Tennessee, and possibly several other research facilities.

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