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Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center teams up with WVU and DOE

Wednesday, September 01, 1999

By Ken Zapinski, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

To help broaden its customer base, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center yesterday agreed to a five-year partnership with West Virginia University and a research arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The partnership will remove some procedural hurdles that will make it easier for WVU researchers and those at Federal Energy Technology Center sites in Morgantown and Pittsburgh to gain access to the Supercomputing Center.

The partnership will also work to bring a super high-speed fiber-optic link from Pittsburgh that would be accessible by consortium members and others, including commercial concerns, on a shared-cost basis, said Rita A. Bajura, director of the Federal Energy Technology Center.

To West Virginia Gov. Cecil Underwood, who is supporting the effort, the consortium is a way to boost the regional economy and develop a high-tech reputation for his state. For federal energy officials, it is a way for researchers to secure real-time access to the computing power at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. And for the center, it's a way to gain still more customers, an effort underway since the National Science Foundation decided in 1997 to pull much of the center's funding.

The arrangement also represents good science, by mating the computer and networking expertise of the Pittsburgh center with the fossil-fuel combustion research underway at the Federal Energy Tech Center and the three-dimensional visual simulation expertise at WVU, said H. Lynn Layman of Westinghouse Electric Co., which is a partner in the Supercomputing Center along with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

The Westinghouse facility in Monroeville has housed the center's computers since it was launched in 1986. That support hasn't changed, even though Westinghouse Electric was sold to British Nuclear Fuels PLC in March, Layman said.

"British Nuclear Fuels is being extremely supportive of continuing that relationship," he said.

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