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January 1993

Paul Messina

Director, Caltech Concurrent Supercomputing Facilities and Assistant Vice President for Scientific Computing, Caltech;
Manager of High Performance Computing, Jet Propulsion laboratory

Paul Messina's major interests are system architectural issues in concurrent computing, distributed computing over wide-area networks, and performance measurement of parallel programs. Recent efforts include characterizing data movement patterns in parallel applications and organizing the Concurrent Supercomputing Consortium (CSCC), the nation's first concurrent computing consortium with members from academia, government, and industry.

Messina came to Caltech after serving as Director of Argonne National Laboratory's Mathematics and Computer Science Division during the 1980s, where he initiated a number of projects in parallel computing and created the Advanced Computing Research Facility. As the Assistant Vice President for Scientific Computing at Caltech, Messina is responsible for creating, directing, and overseeing large-scale computational projects and various high-performance computing activities, with special emphasis on stimulating multidisciplinary activities in computational science and engineering.

As the Director of the Caltech Concurrent Supercomputing Facilities (CCSF), he manages and coordinates large-scale concurrent computer facilities, and a computational science research group. Major systems at CCSF during the past seven years have included a 512-node Intel Paragon XP/S, a 56-node Paragon Model A4 system, the 570-node Intel Touchstone Delta, a 512-node nCUBE, a 192-node Symult S2010 multicomputer, an Intel iPSC/860 64-node system, a Meiko Computing surface with 32 T800 transputers, several Caltech/JPL-created hypercubes, and a Thinking Machines CM 2 with 16K processors.

Messina conceived the idea for CSCC in November 1990, oversaw its creation, and arranged for the purchase of the Intel Touchstone Delta System, which was at the time of its installation in May 1991 the most powerful parallel computer in the world in terms of peak performance, memory size, and performance on popular benchmark programs. He is also responsible for setting technical directions for the CSCC and for operation of the advanced systems purchased by the CSCC, all of which are located at Caltech.

Messina currently leads two multi-institution research projects. Since its inception in 1989, he has been project manager for the CASA gigabit network testbed, which has been exploring the use of distributed supercomputing environments created by very high-speed networks for scientific and engineering applications. More recently, he was one of the key people who formulated the Scalable I/O Initiative (SIO) and is a principal investigator for the SIO grant (see related article).

In 1992, he received the Federal Computer Week's "Federal 100 Award" for spearheading the acquisition of the Intel Delta and overcoming politics and interagency rivalries in creating the CSCC (see the January 1993 issue of Parallel Computing Research). He is an associate editor of Concurrency: Practice and Experience and is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Association for Computing Machinery, IEEE Computer Society, and Sigma Xi. He is currently the program chair of the Second Pasadena Workshop on Systems Software and Tools for High Performance Computing Environments, which will take place in Pasadena, CA in 1995.

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