NCSA and partners win HPCWire Editors’ Choice Award for EarthDEM collaboration

11.20.19 -

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign won Best Academic/Government collaboration as part of the annual HPCwire Editors' Choice Awards, at the 2019 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC19), in Denver, Colorado.

"NCSA is honored to be awarded for our contributions in geospatial research," said William "Bill" Gropp, director of NCSA. "Congratulations to our research partners, and thank you to HPCwire for this recognition."

The awarded collaboration, which involves NCSA’s Blue Waters Project, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota, the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center and the Ohio Supercomputer Center at The Ohio State University, the Arctic Geodata Cooperative, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is producing high resolution digital elevation models of the entire Earth (EarthDEM), among other geospatial research projects.

"This is the beginning of building a long-term strategic relationship between NGA and the University of Illinois and our other partners, centered on high-performance computing and data analysis,” said NCSA Director William "Bill" Gropp. “The Blue Waters collaboration is the first of what we anticipate will be many years of research collaborations between NGA and Illinois, as well as NCSA."

This $11.1 million collaboration, which is funded by the NGA, comes on the heels of the successful ArcticDEM and Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) collaborations and will make Blue Waters the most powerful dedicated, non-classified, geospatial system in the world. This brings unprecedented speed and efficiency to global mapping, and fundamentally changing the way humans view the Earth.

"In the past three and a half years, the ability to create production-quality, high resolution digital elevation models from satellite data has revolutionized the way highly-accurate maps can be created,” said William “Bill” Kramer, Director of the Blue Waters project. “With this collaboration we have the unique opportunity to apply these geospatial innovations on a global scale. The EarthDEM products have use in a myriad of applications the be used by many others for research, engineering and development for impact far beyond just the maps."

Learn more about NCSA’s collaboration with the NGA here.

Approved for Public Release #20-125

About NCSA

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation's science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students, and collaborators from around the globe use advanced digital resources to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing one third of the Fortune 50® for more than 30 years by bringing industry, researchers, and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

National Science Foundation

Blue Waters is supported by the National Science Foundation through awards OCI-0725070 and ACI-1238993.