For Release March 31, 1997

For More Information, Contact:

Danny Powell
CRPC, Rice University

Patricia Davis
University of Houston

Two Houston Institutions Align with Winners
in National Supercomputing Competition

IndentThe University of Houston (UH) and the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), headquartered at Rice University, as well as a consortium of Houston-area universities, will benefit from a new round of federal government funding that will help university researchers develop the nation's computational infrastructure. The universities succeeded because they aligned with two victorious lead institutions in the National Science Foundation's Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) competition. As a result, Texas and Houston together will form a predominant hub on the map of critical, connected national assets in supercomputing and information technologies.

The Houston institutions will share in approximately $340 million dollars in funding over five years, or $170 million for each of the two lead centers and their respective partners. The lead centers will be the National Computational Science Alliance (NCSA), headquartered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), headquartered at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Additionally, the Houston Area Computational Science Consortium (HACSC), formed in 1996 by UH, Rice, and Baylor College of Medicine, will serve as an NCSA regional center. Regional partners have advanced and mid-level computing resources that help distribute the latest computational technology to sites throughout the U.S. They thus form a vital part of the national effort to provide the next generation of computational and visual resources and connections for the academic community.

The PACI will foster the following initiatives:

  • HACSC, as a regional center for NCSA, will serve as a gateway to the resources of the vBNS, an NSF-funded high-speed network connecting the supercomputer centers and major research universities. The consortium will deploy emerging computational, visualization, and software technologies as well as educational programs. HACSC will also provide consulting services to users, and help them develop new applications.

  • With NPACI, the newly formed Texas Center for Computational and Information Science (TCCIS) at UH will establish a data cache for large scientific data sets, and develop scalable application software, mainly in molecular sciences, that will allow professionals to manipulate 3-D immersive representations of molecular structures through haptic or acoustic interaction. Their work will also support immersive environments shared between groups at different geographic locations.

  • TCCIS at UH will also provide state-of-the-art applications software and building blocks in the form of high-performance scientific software and immersive visualization libraries for NCSA's high-end and mid-range computer and visualization facilities.

  • The CRPC, an NSF-funded center headquartered at Rice University, will expand its award-winning efforts to increase participation by women and minorities in the computational sciences through collaboration with both lead institutions. Successful CRPC educational programs will be scaled up, replicated in other regions, and cross-linked, providing a social and geographical continuum of support for women and minorities in the computational sciences and engineering. The partner outreach efforts will focus on California and Texas, which include 20% of the nation's K-12 students.

  • The CRPC will build tools leading to an integrated problem-solving environment, enabling NPACI and NCSA application developers to solve Grand Challenge problems. The same tools will be useful for other scientists and engineers to solve design problems with increased accuracy and speed.

Dr. Lennart Johnsson, Director of TCCIS, Chair of the Department of Computer Science at UH, and Chair of HACSC, stated, "The PACI relationships provide a very exciting opportunity for the academic world to shape the future of large-scale simulation in science and engineering, in accessing and analyzing widely distributed sources of large sets of information, and in developing effective collaboration technologies for scientists and engineers working with large, complex objects."

"PACI partners will lead in developing the computing and communications applications that will exploit the Next Generation Internet. Having two Houston institutions as major PACI partners puts the city squarely in the forefront of this emerging revolution in information technology," said Dr. Ken Kennedy, Director of the CRPC, Rice University. Kennedy was also recently named Co-Chairman of President Clinton's Advisory Committee on High Performance Computing and Communications, Information Technology, and the Next Generation Internet.

"This is a superb opportunity for the CRPC to replicate its highly successful education programs nationwide," commented Richard Tapia, Director of Education and Human Resources, CRPC, and Noah Harding Professor, Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice. In 1996, Tapia received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

See also...

CRPC Home Page - UH Home Page

NSF PACI Press Release - NSF PACI Home Page

NCSA: Alliance Background - NCSA Home Page

UCSD: NPACI Executive SummaryHome Page - UCSD Home Page

HASCS Home Page

CRPC Press Release: Ken Kennedy To Co-Chair
Clinton's HPCC Advisory Committee

Search the CRPC Web Site

Updated by Debbie Campbell (
Posted March 31, 1997