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University of Iowa News Release

 

Oct. 2, 2006

UI Nets $670,000 Grant To Troubleshoot Major Global Cyberinfrastructure

The University of Iowa will help in the next phase of development of the Open Science Grid (OSG), a powerful computing tool, by working to make the OSG more robust and reliable.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science have announced a five-year, $30 million award to the Open Science Grid Consortium to operate and expand the OSG, a computing environment used by scientists to harness computing resources and scientific data from around the world. The University of Iowa has received $670,000 as an initial award to help troubleshoot the OSG and facilitate the interoperability between the OSG and other major cyberinfrastructure projects worldwide.

Established in 2005, the OSG is operated by the OSG Consortium, a partnership of universities, national laboratories, scientific collaborations and software developers that work together to create a common distributed computing environment, or grid, for scientific research. Computing resources from more than 50 sites in the United States, Asia and South America are shared through the OSG. The resources range from small clusters of 10 computers to large facilities with thousands of processors and millions of gigabytes of data storage.

"The OSG has achieved the scalability to tens and thousands of computers and massive distributed storage capacity through fast networks," said Shaowen Wang, a research scientist and UI principle investigator. "Now, it is important to sustain and expand this level of scalability by making OSG cyberinfrastructure services robust and reliable through effective and efficient troubleshooting mechanisms, which would benefit the entire science community at an unprecedented level."

Wang is the Founding Manager of GROW (Grid Research and educatiOn group @ ioWa) (See: http://grow.uiowa.edu), a unit of UI Information Technology Services and an interdisciplinary virtual organization that represents the State of Iowa higher education institutions in the OSG Consortium. With this grant, GROW has secured over $1.2 million in cyberinfrastructure funding from federal agencies during the past three years. Internally, GROW has received several seed grants from the Graduate College, Information Technology Services, and the Office of the Vice President for Research since it was founded at the beginning of 2003.

Yasar Onel, a GROW member and a professor of physics and astronomy in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), has been working within GROW to develop a national computation center for physics analysis with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest atom smasher. The LHC is a $6 billion project at the CERN particle physics laboratory, located on the border between France and Switzerland. In related work, Onel and his colleagues are constructing particle detectors, funded with more than $5 million from the NSF and DOE and planned for use in the LHC. Onel said that this grant is a big step toward creating a major grid computing center at the UI, without which it would not be possible to carry out LHC science on UI campus.

Scientists from many fields, including astrophysics, bioinformatics, computer science, nanotechnology, nuclear science and particle physics, use the OSG for their investigations. Working with other grid computing projects, from computing grids on university campuses to large national and international grid projects, the consortium creates a worldwide computing infrastructure for scientific research.

"Through the OSG project, the University of Iowa will continue to develop expertise and leadership on building large-scale national and international cyberinfrastructure. Such expertise and leadership will benefit the University's computational research and education programs," Steve Fleagle, UI associate vice president and chief information officer, says.

In addition to the University of Iowa, OSG Consortium members sharing in the latest NSF/DOE funding include Boston University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Cornell University, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Indiana University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, University of California, San Diego, University of Chicago, University of Florida, University of North, Carolina/Renaissance Computing Institute and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

For more information please visit http://www.opensciencegrid.org/.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Shaowen Wang, project principal investigator, shaowen-wang@uiowa.edu, 319-335-6713; Gary Galluzzo, writer, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu.