The Supercomputing Institute for Digital Simulation and Advanced Computation is
an interdisciplinary research program spanning all colleges of the University of
Minnesota. The Supercomputing Institute provides supercomputing resources and user
support to faculty and students and is a linchpin program in the University's broad-based
digital technology effort. The mission of the Supercomputing Institute is supercomputing
research. This includes all aspects of high-performance computing and scientific
modeling and simulation as well as graphics, visualization, and high-performance
network communications. Supercomputing research is defined broadly to include a variety
of research activities from many disciplines. This research involves the use of high-performance
computing environments to address problems in science and engineering that could
not otherwise be attempted. Such efforts often result in domain-specific algorithms
and codes that exploit the available computing environments as well as visualization
techniques to enhance insight, make displays more informative, and add multimedia
value to communications and work environments. In many cases, these research activities
may involve research aimed at the design or evaluation of high-performance computing
hardware, operating systems, networking, and general-purpose algorithms and software.
In 1981, the University of Minnesota was the first American University to acquire
a supercomputer (a Cray-1B). The Supercomputing Institute was created in 1984 to
provide leading edge high-performance computing resources to the University of Minnesota's
research community. These resources have included a Cray-2, an ETA 10, a Cray X-MP,
an IBM 3090, a Cray M90, a Cray T3D, a twelve-processor Cray C90, and a Cray T3E-900.
These resources were provided to the Supercomputing Institute by Network Computing
Services (formerly Minnesota Supercomputer Center, Inc., or MSC Inc.). Beginning
on July 1, 1998, the Institute began providing services on its own supercomputers.
The supercomputing resources are located at the Supercomputing Institute's facilities
in the Minnesota Technology Corridor at the edge of the West Bank of the Minneapolis
Campus of the University.
IBM Shared University Reserach East Bank Laboratory
The IBM SUR East Bank Laboratory is a cooperative research effort in scientific
and parallel computing between the University of Minnesota and IBM. The project is
managed under the auspices of the IBM Shared University Research (SUR) program by
the Computer Science Department, the Office of Information Technology, and the Supercomputing
Institute. This program makes a cluster of IBM RS/6000 workstations and an SP POWERparallel
system available to University of Minnesota researchers for research on system software,
communications, parallel algorithms, and computational science applications.
Basic Sciences Computing Laboratory
In 1996�97, the Supercomputing Institute established the Supercomputing Institute
Basic Sciences Computing Laboratory in the Nils Hasselmo Hall located on the East Bank
campus of the University of Minnesota. The laboratory
provides high-performance workstations and visualization equipment to enhance the
research capabilities of the University community. The facility occupies approximately
1700 square feet that includes a workstation room, video/graphics room, machine room,
and two offices. The laboratory houses state-of-the-art computing platforms and graphics
workstations including five Silicon Graphics Indigo2 Solid Impact R10000 workstations,
a Silicon Graphics Challenge XL with four 150 megahertz R4400 processors, two SGI
Octane SSI workstations, one SGI Octane MXE workstation, two SGI Octane SSEs, one
SGI Onyx2, one IBM Intellistation, and a 32-processor Origin 2000 with 8 GB of memory.
Medicinal Chemistry-Supercomputing Institute Visualization/Workstation Laboratory
The Medicinal Chemistry-Supercomputing Institute Workstation/Visualization Laboratory is cosponsored by the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and the Supercomputing Institute. This laboratory is located in Weaver-Densford Hall and contains workstations that are used primarily for scientific visualization. This facility is available to all researchers who apply for and receive competitively reviewed supercomputing resource allocations. Access is also available by separate proposal for those researchers requiring workstation access only.
Scientific Development and Visualization Laboratory
The Supercomputing Institute's Scientific Development and Visualization Laboratory,
which is located in the Supercomputing Institute's facilities in the Supercomputer
Center Building, provides front-end equipment including Silicon Graphics workstations,
Macintosh workstations, an Intellistation from IBM running Windows NT, a color scanner,
a CD writer, a Silicon Graphics O2 workstation for the creation and manipulation
of videos, and a Super-VHS VCR.
National Center for Supercomputing Applications Resources
The Supercomputing Institute is also coordinating the allocation of National Center
for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) SGI Origin 2000 resources to University of
Minnesota faculty researchers. These resources are being made available through the
Committee on Institutional Cooperation (an academic consortium of Big Ten Universities
and the University of Chicago).
IBM Shared University Research Workstation Award Program
IBM, through its Shared University Research Program, has made available to the
University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, a number of IBM RS/6000 and Intellistation
workstations. These workstations have been awarded through a competitive grant program
administered by the Supercomputing Institute. The Supercomputing Institute and the
Computer Science and Engineering Department provide hardware and system support and
user and parallel programming support.
Laboratory for Computational Science and Engineering
The Supercomputing Institute partners with the Laboratory for Computational Science
and Engineering (LCSE) in support of the LCSE's participation in the National Center
for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) National Computational Science Alliance, which
has been funded by the National Science Foundation. Through this partnership, Supercomputing
Institute researchers are able to participate in the LCSE program.
Scientific Computation Graduate Program
The graduate degree program in scientific computation encompasses course work
and research on the fundamental principles necessary to use intensive computation
to support research in the physical, biological, and social sciences and engineering.
There is a special emphasis on research issues, state-of-the-art methods, and the
application of these methods to outstanding problems in science, engineering, and
other fields that use numerical analysis, symbolic and logic analysis, high-performance
computing tools, parallel algorithms, supercomputing and heterogeneous networks,
Computational Neuroscience Graduate Program
This program introduces students with diverse biological and quantitative backgrounds
to the challenges of complex phenomena in the neurosciences and fosters interdisciplinary
training and research efforts toward meeting these challenges. Graduate Programs
in Scientific Computation and Neuroscience are united with the Supercomputing Institute
to provide a new paradigm for training graduate students interested in the physical,
chemical, and computational sciences. This lowers the barriers to interdisciplinary
research, provides opportunities for neuroscientists to pose problems to the quantitative
sciences, and provides a catalyst for the cross-fertilization of the two disciplines.
In addition, the Supercomputing Institute collaborates with many other centers
of the University of Minnesota. The Supercomputing Institute has cosponsored various
research projects, symposia, and workshops with the Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
Department, Army High-Performance Computing Research Center, Institute of Medical
Biotechnology, Biological Process Technology Institute, Brain Sciences Center, Center
for Interfacial Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department,
Computer Science and Engineering Department, Corrosion Research Center, Engineering
Research Center for Plasma-Aided Manufacturing, Center for Transportation Studies,
Institute of Human Genetics, Laboratory for Computational Science and Engineering,
Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications, Limnological Research Center, Medicinal
Chemistry Graduate Program, Particle Technology Laboratory, Advanced Bioscience Computing
Center, Office of Information Technology, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, Structural
Biology Program, Scientific Computation Graduate Program, and the Theoretical Physics
Supercomputing Institute Research Scholars
In addition to providing state-of-the-art supercomputing resources to the University of Minnesota research community, the Supercomputing Institute offers a Research Scholarship Program which provides grants to enhance the supercomputing research programs of University of Minnesota faculty. These grants, which are peer reviewed and competitively awarded, are for the support of research associates who work closely with Supercomputing Institute principal investigators on their research projects. Over the past ten years, 170 Supercomputing Institute Research Scholarships have been awarded. These Research Scholarships have provided an important opportunity for the creation and pursuit of research projects that might not have otherwise been attempted.
Supercomputing Institute Undergraduate Interns
The Supercomputing Institute's Undergraduate Internship Program promotes undergraduate
involvement in ongoing and new research in many fields and provides students with
an opportunity to work full-time on challenging and computationally intensive problems
in an academic research environment. During ten-week appointments, interns participate
in Institute sponsored tutorials specific to high-performance computing and individual
laboratory tours led by faculty members. To conclude the program, interns present
talks that allow them to share their work with other researchers and to gain experience
making scientific presentations. The program allows the students to perform research
in close collaboration with faculty investigators and their research groups and to
discuss research with faculty members, post-doctoral associates, graduate students,
and other interns with similar interests. The program has sponsored 340 interns in
its ten years of existence.