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Argonne-USC Researchers Win GII Next Generation Award For Advanced Computing Infrastructure

Argonne media contact:
Evelyn Brown
(630) 252-5510

USC contact:
Bob Calverley
(213) 740-4750

Chicago (April 20, 1998) -Two researchers from Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Southern California School of Engineering's Information Sciences Institute (ISI) have won the Global Information Infrastructure Next Generation award for their work in advancing the technology and application of high performance distributed computing.

Computer scientists Ian Foster, Ph.D., of Argonne, and Carl Kesselman, Ph.D., of USC, won the award for GUSTO (Globus Ubiquitous Supercomputing Testbed), a prototype for future computational grids that will make computing power available to users on demand the way power grids make electricity available. Foster's and Kesselman's software will enable users of advanced networks like Internet 2 to access the power of the linked supercomputers, scientific instruments, virtual reality environments and mammoth data archives transparently.

"Our hope is that access to distributed resources such as supercomputers will someday become consistent, dependable and pervasive. People will take it for granted," says Kesselman.

Foster says that access to supercomputing capabilities through computational grids will change the way people think about and use high-end computing. "Imagine if the average small investor had access to a $10 million supercomputer able to run a billion calculations per second," he says. "These are the tools that banks and the captains of industry have."

"Fundamentally new applications such as tele-immersion, remote visualization, smart instruments and distributed supercomputing are only possible with the creation of new networking software," says Foster.

GUSTO is part of Globus, a research and development project advancing the technology and application of high-performance distributed computing by developing new software tools. So far, the main beneficiaries have been scientists and engineers who have used it for a range of experimental applications.

In one such application, SF-Express, developed by scientists at the California Institute of Technology, nine of the largest computers in the country were linked to run the largest distributed interactive simulation ever performed, more than a thousand times larger than could be run on a single system.

In another application called Cactus, developed at the Max-Planck Institute in Potsdam, Germany, the National Computational Science Alliance and at Washington University in St. Louis, solutions of Einstein's gravity wave equations were generated on a supercomputer in Garching, Germany and visualized remotely in the U.S. This is used by astrophysicists to understand the structure of the universe.

In a third effort, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Electronic Visualization Laboratory are using Globus to develop CAVERN, a tool for a form of remote collaboration called tele-immersion. Children around the world use CAVERN to collaboratively cultivate virtual gardens, while engineers use it to design transportation vehicles of the future.

"We are delighted to receive this award," says Kesselman, "but this was very much of a collaborative effort and our collaborators deserve a huge amount of credit."

The Globus team also includes the Aerospace Corporation. Other institutions participating in GUSTO include:

  • National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure
  • National Computational Science Alliance
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Paralleldatorcentrum at Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan in Sweden
  • Indiana University
  • National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • NASA-Ames Research Center
  • Rechenzentrum Garching der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Garching (Germany)
  • Texas Center for Computational and Information Sciences at the University of Houston
  • Maui High Performance Computing Center
  • Condor Project at the University of Wisconsin.

The awards recognize and promote best practices and new models in the use of Internet and network technologies. The Next Generation category targets exemplary uses of the information infrastructure that demonstrate its direction and future potential by involving cutting-edge information and communications technologies.

"Einstein observed you can't solve problems with the same level of thinking that created them," says James Hake, founder and chairman of the Global Information Infrastructure Awards. "GUSTO is crucial to our future because it allows scientists worldwide to collaborate across the network and reach levels of thinking and problem solving that were never before possible. And GUSTO offers an exciting glimpse into the future Internet when bandwidth is limitless."

Globus research and development is supported by the Defense Advanced Projects Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

With more than 200 programs in basic and applied science, Argonne is one of the nation's largest federally funded scientific laboratories. Argonne is operated by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy.

EDITOR: For more information concerning Globus, contact Ian Foster at Argonne at, (630) 252-4619, or Carl Kesselman at ISI at, (310) 822-1511, or visit