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Grand Challenge Consortia

A cornerstone of CRPC application activities is the active participation by researchers in grand challenge consortia-interdisciplinary collaborations to address important problems in science and engineering using parallel computation. These collaborations usually involve CRPC computational scientists and application researchers outside of the CRPC. In a typical consortium, annual workshops bring together appropriate computational and applied scientists, and isolate key algorithm and software issues. The consortia also involve an exchange of visits, training on and access to parallel computing facilities, and assistance by the CRPC in the application of its software and algorithm technologies to the parallelization of specific applications. Two examples:
  • The Keck Center for Computational Biology is a collaborative effort of the CRPC and computational biologists at Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Houston. It focuses on innovative uses of parallel computation in biological research and education. Specific areas of emphasis include molecular dynamics, X-ray crystallography, medical imaging, and the human genome project.
  • The Geosciences Parallel Computation Project (GPCP) is a collaboration of researchers from the CRPC, Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Houston, and several corporations in the petroleum industry that specifically addresses parallel computation in enhanced oil recovery. Areas of study include flow in porous media, seismic analysis, optimal well placement, and the development of advanced tools for parallel scientific programming (included in the section on Fortran Parallel Programming System, pages 26-28). This project has also resulted in two very active corporate affiliate programs. Because it was supported by the State of Texas as part of a matching commitment for the CRPC, the application projects of the GPCP are further described on pages 47-51.

David Forslund is a theoretical plasma physicist who has worked in space plasma physics, magnetic fusion, laser fusion, and, more recently, computer science. Currently, he is involved in massively parallel computing projects and has developed a distributed particle simulation code in C++ that runs on a network of heterogeneous workstations. As deputy director of the Advanced Computing Laboratory at Los Alamos National Laboratory, he has helped guide the installation and operation of the largest massively parallel supercomputer in the world and led a research project in the practical applications of distributed computing. He has published more than 50 publications in scientific journals and has given numerous invited talks in plasma physics and computer science.

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