|Volume 7, Issue 1 -
NAPA REPORT GIVES CRPC HIGH RATINGS
The CRPC and four other NSF Science and Technology Centers (STCs) took part in a performance study conducted by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) earlier this year. Requested by the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies, the study focused on the centers' management processes, interdisciplinary activities, ties to educational and industrial communities, internal evaluation processes, and the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) management of the STC program.
"The key asset of the [CRPC] is the intellectual capacity of its members, combined with their ability and willingness to transfer their knowledge to the surrounding communities," NAPA concluded in a draft report released after two months of intensive literature reviews, site visits, and interviews. "Because of its distributed nature, the center's management and leadership are important to defining its direction and distributing its resources."
According to NAPA, visionary leadership, well-connected site leaders and researchers, effective review and evaluation processes, and responsiveness to the NSF, industrial advisors, and other committees create a strong and effective management structure at the CRPC. The report further states that the CRPC's primary goal of making parallel computation truly usable is in line with the nation's goals regarding high-performance computation and networking systems.
In addition, NAPA recognizes that the CRPC is active in helping industry gain the advantages of parallel computation and retain world leadership in high-performance computing. The report points out that industrial affiliates are active in designing center goals and have the benefit of early information on new developments. It mentions workshops and symposia, visitor programs, and the dissemination of software, online information, and publications as additional evidence of the CRPC's successful technology transfer program.
The CRPC's educational programs were cited as effective community outreach efforts. "The center has taken special care in its outreach programs to include minorities and women," the report states. "Several students cited the personal mentorship of world-class scientists as critical to their progress in the field." The report mentions CRPC's diverse education programs that include curriculum development and faculty training for other institutions, undergraduate and graduate interdisciplinary courses, research opportunities for students, awareness and computing workshops for K-12 teachers, and curriculum development in Rice's K-8 school.
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