NSF Awards $45M Deal for Supercomputing System

NSF Awards $45M Deal for Supercomputing System

By Jennifer Freer, Staff Writer

AUG. 3 ? The National Science Foundation has awarded a $45 million contract to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center to increase computing speeds well beyond a trillion calculations per second.

Negotiations between NSF and the Pittsburgh center are incomplete, but NSF officials expect the Terascale Computing System to begin operations in February 2001, reaching peak performances of 6 trillion calculations per second by the end of the year, NSF officials announced in an Aug. 3 statement.

The Science Board, the NSF's governing body, authorized the three-year deal. The work will be performed by the center along with Houston-based Compaq Computer Corp.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and Westinghouse Electric Co.

The NSF is an independent U.S. federal agency charged with promoting science and engineering through programs that invest more than $3.3 billion per year to nearly 20,000 research and education projects.

President Clinton said in a statement he is "pleased that the National Science Foundation is expanding its investment in supercomputing systems capable of making trillions of calculations per second. This investment will accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering better predict tornadoes, speed up the discovery of life-saving drugs and design more fuel-efficient engines."

The Terascale Computing System should provide social and economic benefits, such as more accurate storm, climactic and earthquake predictions; more efficient combustion engines; and a better understanding of chemical and molecular factors in biology, said NSF Director Rita Colwell.

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