Collaborative Supercomputing Grid Established with Department of Energy Funds

A total of $6.5 million was appropriated by Congress from the U.S. Department of Energy to create a high-performance computer grid, the Northwest Indiana Computational Grid.

The grid will create a high-technology infrastructure connecting Notre Dame with Purdue’s West Lafayette and Calumet campuses. It will also connect the institutions with U.S. government research facilities, such as Argonne National Laboratory.

According to Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., who worked with U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., to champion the project, the grid will offer a supercomputer network that operates at speeds much faster than that available elsewhere in the country. “This investment in technology,” he says, “is important for many reasons, including the innovative research it will foster in enhancing the national security of the United States.”

Visclosky, who is the ranking democrat on the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, believes the infrastructure created by the grid is key to Indiana’s economy in the 21st century. “We must have the high-technology infrastructure in place to attract the jobs of the future.”

The collective power of the grid provides researchers at both universities with the tools to perform sophisticated modeling and simulation for chemical, biological, and radiological dispersion during a terrorist attack. It will also help authorities predict the spread of a toxic substance, by determining the threat to the public and developing additional life-saving steps. Other applications include transportation and environmental studies for use in city planning, health-care management, biocomputing and the study of protein structures for synthesis of pharmaceuticals, and research in advanced carbon materials. In short, the grid will encourage and assist researchers as they address some of society’s most complex problems.

The grid will also be a tool for economic development as it supports the state’s plans to create more high-tech, high-wage, and high-skill jobs.

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