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NCSA visualizations help capture ‘Dynamic Earth’

A team at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications created data-driven scientific visualizations of Hurricane Katrina and the harsh terrain of Venus for “Dynamic Earth,” a new immersive digital fulldome production that follows the trail of energy that flows from the sun into the interlocking systems that shape our climate: the atmosphere, oceans, and the … Continued

Blue Waters “Early Science System” delivered to NCSA

The first cabinets of the new Blue Waters sustained-petascale supercomputer have arrived at the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications and were powered up over the last few days. A total of 48 Cray XE6 cabinets were installed. These cabinets represent about 15 percent of the final Blue Waters system. They will be … Continued

Leap to whole-cell simulations

by Diana Yates Researchers have built a computer model of the crowded interior of a bacterial cell that—in a test of its response to sugar in its environment—accurately simulates the behavior of living cells. The new “in silico cells” are the result of a collaboration between experimental scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biology … Continued

User reflections: Al Valocchi

What were you studying when you used NCSA’s first supercomputer, the Cray X-MP? What new results came from its use? What other NCSA capabilities helped you advance your science? My general field of study is the same now as it was 25 years ago—numerical simulation of fluid flow and contaminant transport in the subsurface. Advance … Continued

Transforming computing

We’ve had several challenging months at NCSA, but what a comeback. Blue Waters is firmly back on track. Our new partners at Cray will begin delivering a system in the next several weeks. It will be based on their XE6 hardware and the next generation of their XK6 hardware. Science and engineering researchers will be … Continued

Catch the wave

by Barbara Jewett Overhear Robert Fisher and Gaurav Khanna discussing hotel stars and catching the wave, and you’d think they’re discussing a recent vacation. Wait. Now the conversation has shifted to Type Ia. Isn’t that the person who thrives on work? While the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth professors are really talking about their collaboration on … Continued

Different strokes for different folks

by Trish Barker Simulations using NCSA’s Abe help psychologists better understand how human beings carve out cultural niches. “There is no such thing as a person without culture,” says University of Illinois psychology professor Dov Cohen. While we all have our individual characteristics and quirks, we’re also greatly influenced by the distinct ways of living, … Continued

Breaking business models

by Barbara Jewett Almost as soon as NCSA opened, the center began collaborating with companies. One of the first was Eli Lilly. The firm used NCSA supercomputers to investigate leukotrienes, which cause the lungs to stiffen and become irritated. Investigators hoped to find a “receptor antagonist” that could block the leukotriene receptors without causing this … Continued

Bigger isn’t better

For some complex biological structures, bigger isn’t always better. Instead what most researchers want to explore is the actions of smaller biological structures over longer periods of time. Researchers from the University of Utah, University of California at San Diego, Rutgers University, Stony Brook University, and the University of Florida have teamed up to get … Continued

Behind the scenes of NCSA: Blue Waters

To create an incredible resource like the Blue Waters supercomputer takes an incredible team. In addition to the project’s principal and co-principal investigators, project managers, and hardware and software architects, dozens of NCSA staffers work behind the scenes, moving the project forward. Programmers writing code. Accounting analysts tracking expenditures. Copyeditors crafting professional-looking documents. Assistants keeping … Continued

Illinois data center rated LEED Gold

The University of Illinois’ National Petascale Computing Facility has been certified LEED® Gold in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system, which is the recognized standard for measuring sustainability in construction. The building, which opened in summer 2010, is home to supercomputers and other high-performance systems operated by … Continued

NCSA helps filmmakers show dangers of ‘Space Junk’

A growing collection of debris is orbiting the earth, creating hazards that jeopardize both space exploration and the satellite network that powers modern communication systems. These cluttered orbits are the subject of the new film “Space Junk 3D,” which features data-driven scientific visualizations created by NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL). “Since no actual images exist … Continued

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