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University of Houston Becomes CRPC Affiliated Site

University of Houston
The CRPC Executive Committee recently named the University of Houston (UH) to be the seventh CRPC affiliated site. Lennart Johnsson, Chair of the UH Computer Science Department and Professor of computer science, mathematics, and electrical and computer engineering, will serve as affiliated site leader (see "Parallel Profile").

Johnsson is one of the pioneers of data-parallel computation, the model of parallelism incorporated in High Performance Fortran (HPF). While at Thinking Machines Corporation, he was the principal architect of the Connection Machine Scientific Subroutine Library (CMSSL). This was the first comprehensive, scalable, parallel library, and was one of the primary reasons for the success of CM Fortran on the CM-2, CM-200, and CM-5. In turn, High Performance Fortran (HPF) and the standard HPF library are based in part on CM Fortran and CMSSL. In addition to defining and leading implementation of the library, Johnsson has been active in developing data-parallel algorithms. Perhaps the most exciting recent work in this area has been the development of a parallel adaptive n-body solver in HPF, one of the first such codes in any language. He is collaborating with Rice University researchers to explore compiler support for such codes and further stretch the applicability of HPF. Johnsson is leader of the Data Parallel Fortran Benchmark Suite project, which is producing a means for evaluating data parallel Fortran compilers, including the HPF compilers, Fortran-90 compilers, and others. The benchmarks cover collective communcation functions, scientific software library functions, and application kernels. Such benchmark results will give programmers invaluable assistance in tuning their HPF codes by quantifying the costs of various constructs in the language. Johnsson is working closely with CRPC researchers at Rice and Syracuse Universities on the development of high-performance libraries as part of this work.

In addition, Johnsson chairs the Houston Area Computational Science Consortium (HACSC), a collaboration of researchers from UH, Rice University, and the Baylor College of Medicine formed to develop strong research programs that span disciplines and institutions. HACSC will ultimately connect to the vBNS, using it to conduct computationally intensive research projects in areas like surgical simulation, 3-D modeling of molecular structures, and aircraft design.

Johnsson is also involved with the Virtual Environment Technology Laboratory (VETL), a joint enterprise of UH and the NASA/Johnson Space Center (see "Research Focus"). The state-of-the-art laboratory features virtual environments for training, education, and scientific/engineering data visualization. CRPC faculty, researchers, and staff are taking advantage of the opportunity to tour and use the facility. K-12 teacher participants of the CRPC-sponsored GirlTECH/MCSA workshop held earlier this summer visited the laboratory as part of their training.

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