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Achievements Showcased and Solutions Exchanged at Alliance/98

CRPC sites and affiliated sites across the country are participating in a national alliance that links more than 50 research partners in a collaboration to build the advanced computational infrastructure of the future. The National Computational Science Alliance, led by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), held its first official meeting at the university's Assembly Hall on April 27-30.

Supported by a 5-year, $170 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Alliance is working to prototype a national computational infrastructure called the National Technology Grid. The Grid will enable the science and engineering community to take advantage of rapidly improving high-performance computing and communications technologies and will make those developments available to broad sectors of society.

This first consolidated gathering of all institutions and organizations served by or partnering with the Alliance reflected the organization's strong commitment to advance science by showcasing achievements and exchanging solutions to technical problems encountered across various disciplines.

Alliance '98 featured an industrial partner advisory committee meeting, tutorials, panels, birds-of-a-feather sessions, keynote and invited speakers, poster exhibits, and demonstrations. Invited speakers from the CRPC included CRPC Director Ken Kennedy (Rice University), Rick Stevens (Argonne National Laboratory), and Dan Reed (UIUC). Other CRPC site Alliance participants include the University of Tennessee, the University of Texas, and affiliated sites at Boston University, Indiana University, and the University of Maryland.

In a special conference presentation, Sears, Roebuck and Co. was awarded the 1998 Industrial Grand Challenge Award on April 29. The award recognized Sears for its use of high-performance information technology tools to make competitive breakthroughs in knowledge management. The Industrial Grand Challenge Award was established by NCSA in 1992 to honor the corporation that accomplished a major competitive breakthrough during the previous year as a result of its partnership with NCSA. Sears is one of 15 Fortune 500 corporations partnering with NCSA to preview emerging technologies and their uses in the corporate sector.

The NSCA and the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), headquartered at the University of California at San Diego, are the lead institutions for the NSF's Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI). (See "Research Focus: PACI Projects at the CRPC,"  Winter 1998 Parallel Computing Research.)