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Originally appeared in Tuesday, April 06, 2004 Oak Ridger

Alexander says ORNL should house world's fastest supercomputer

By: Paul Parson | Oak Ridger Staff

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told a crowd of officials Monday that the world's fastest supercomputer should be housed locally.

"Oak Ridge is a brand name heard around the world when we talk about science and technology," said Alexander, who spoke during an East Tennessee Economic Council event.

During a visit to Oak Ridge Monday, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., attended an East Tennessee Economic Council event at the University of Tennessee Continuing Education and Outreach Center.


During his visit, Lamar also stopped by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's computer facilities. Lab officials sent a proposal to the Department of Energy last week that could put the research facility at the forefront of the supercomputing initiative.

In a couple of weeks, Alexander will head to Japan where he will view what's currently considered the world's fastest supercomputer - the Earth Simulator, which can perform 35.8 trillion operations per second.

Alexander suggested that ORNL's supercomputer could be used to help solve the air quality problems in Tennessee. In addition to studies showing that Knoxville's air quality is among the nation's worst, Knox and Anderson are among seven counties that are at risk of being out of compliance with federal clean air rules.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., from left, and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-3rd District, received a tour Monday of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's high-performance computing area from Jeff Wadsworth, the lab's director.

While attending the East Tennessee Economic Council event at the University of Tennessee Continuing Education and Outreach Center, Alexander also heard presentations about modernization plans for Oak Ridge High School from Principal Ken Green and about the Oak Ridge schools' Education Foundation from Thom Mason, who serves as the foundation's chairman.

As a thank you for all his work, Oak Ridge Mayor David Bradshaw presented Alexander with a 1945 hardbound copy of a book pertaining to the Manhattan Project written by professor Henry DeWolf Smyth of Princeton.

The Manhattan Project was the secret effort that developed an atomic bomb during World War II.

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