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Celebrate 30 years with NCSA September 16

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invites community members and alumni to join them for a 30th Anniversary celebration on September 16, 2016 at the NCSA Building (1205 W. Clark, U.), 4:30-6 p.m. The event will include a special presentation featuring NCSA Founding Director Larry Smarr, current NCSA Director Ed Seidel, and other distinguished guests. Seidel will begin the talks shortly after 5:15 p.m. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. Guests are encouraged to RSVP by September 8 here.

Larry Smarr, Founding Director of NCSA, is a physicist and national leader in supercomputing and high-performance computing. Smarr’s unsolicited “Black Proposal” to the National Science Foundation (NSF) established the first five national supercomputing centers in the United States, including NCSA in 1986. Smarr is now the Founding Director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

Ed Seidel, who has served as the Director of NCSA since 2014, is also a Founder Professor at the U of I Department of Physics and a professor in the Department of Astronomy. Seidel came to NCSA as a postdoc under Smarr in 1989 and then led the numerical relativity group at NCSA from 1991 to 1996, when he moved to lead the numerical relativity group at the newly created Albert Einstein Institute in Gemrany. He later held leadership positions at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow, the National Science Foundation, and the Center for Computation & Technology at Louisiana State University.

“NCSA’s 30 year history is filled with world-changing developments in every field of academic study and real world problem solving,” said Director Ed Seidel. “We welcome NCSA alumni, the University of Illinois, science, and technology communities to join us in celebrating as we head into our next 30 years of shaping lives and the future of scientific research and innovation.”

Over the last 30 years, NCSA and Illinois have been delivering groundbreaking innovation and pushing education and research collaborations into unexplored territories. NCSA’s creation of the first graphical web browser, Mosaic, revolutionized the world’s economy and fundamentally changed the speed at which we communicate and conduct business. NCSA is home to Blue Waters, the world’s fastest supercomputer on an academic campus, which has uncovered discoveries that would not otherwise be possible, including the recent historic detection of gravitational waves, the computational design of the first set of antibody prototypes to detect the Ebola virus, and simulations that could potentially lead to new HIV therapies. NCSA Industry, a private sector program, has been advancing 1/3 of the Fortune 50 over its history by bringing industry, researchers, and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale. Learn more about NCSA’s history at

This event is part of the U of I College of Engineering “Impact Day” and Champaign-Urbana’s Pygmalion Festival, a week long event featuring live music, author readings, tech panels and demonstrations, a craft fair, and a food festival. Learn more about these events and parking info at

Five reasons to come to the celebration

  1. NCSA pioneered academic supercomputing thanks to an unsolicited proposal to the NSF 30 years ago from featured guest Larry Smarr. Academic research using supercomputing at NCSA has enabled countless studies in every field of research to solve grand challenges facing science and society.
  2. NCSA’s creation of the first graphical web browser, Mosaic, revolutionized the world’s economy and how we communicate. Using the internet, as we now know it, is ubiquitous, in part because of graphical web browsers which use images and simple tools like the “back” and “refresh” buttons on your browser.
  3. NCSA brings science to the public by transforming scientific data into stunning visualizations and stories. Hollywood and documentary filmmakers use the expertise, vision and creativity of NCSA experts to construct visualizations that are not only captivating, but scientifically accurate.
  4. NCSA Industry brings together researchers, students, startups, and one third of the Fortune 50 to solve grand challenges. The program brings supercomputing experts at NCSA to businesses in order to increase business efficiency and expand the capabilities of partners.
  5. NCSA and the U of I are delivering cutting edge innovation and pushing education and research into unexplored territories. Illinois, with its long-standing tradition of academic excellence, is the best place for NCSA to call itself home. Programs like NCSA Faculty Fellows partners NCSA experts with researchers from across campus in every field of study.
Media contact

Kristin Williamson
Assistant Director, Public Affairs

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