Jared Cohon

President, Carnegie Mellon University
[remarks by Mike Levine]

Thank you, Mike. Congratulations and happy anniversary.

It is an historic day when we can stand here and watch Michael Levine admit in front of a public audience that the PSC is kind of weird. This was worth the price of admission, I think, for all of us is to hear that.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center is an enormous success and a source of great pride for Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, Westinghouse, and I am presumptuous to say this, but I believe it’s true, also for the National Science Foundation, and indeed, for the nation. The vision of the PSC is to support research in education by being at the leading edge of high-end computation for scientific use. Not only is the PSC committed to this, but Carnegie Mellon University is committed to this, which is why it’s easy for us to be consistently supportive over this 20-year period of this sort-of weird organization, the Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center.

What the PSC has done and is doing is important for the nation. And I don’t mean to steal Dr. Olsen’s thunder, but I’ll just say that what the PSC does, especially given the supportive way you do it, for both researchers and companies everywhere in this nation, you are a key linchpin in the ability of this nation to compete with other nations. This has always been important. We are delighted, though, that President Bush has noted the importance of this as he did in his State of the Union speech as he launched his American competitiveness effort. And we see the PSC and many of the things that NSF supports as a key part of this initiative. One specific manifestation of this, by the way, is the Council on Competitiveness, a national organization of which Carnegie Mellon and many others in Pittsburgh are members, This group wants to stimulate the use of high-performance computing by the private sector recognizing that this really is key for the competitiveness of many of the industries of this nation. So, what the PSC does is important for America.

What the PSC does is important for our region. Alcoa, PPG, and many other private companies from this region are partners with the PSC. These companies talk about how the ability to use the PSC and to be supported by the PSC contributes to their competitiveness in the businesses that they pursue. We also support local teachers through workshops directed at high school teachers and middle school teachers to give them new computational tools for teaching science.

Carnegie Mellon itself, as a research community, has been a long-time user and a very significant user of the PSC for our own research, not necessarily computational research, but using scientific computation. And this has been true from the very outset. From 1986, when we did some path-breaking work on air quality and in Los Angeles to work on earthquakes today, and I see Jacobo Bielak, the PI of that work, and you’ll be able to see that demonstration at work over at the new PSC quarters after this ceremony. During this period, and given the huge range that we cover, Carnegie Mellon has been a very grateful user of the PSC. Our work simply wouldn’t have been possible, much of it, without the PSC.

Let me close by, picking up on something that Michael said. This is a partnership and a very important one. We’re very proud of the fact that we do this with the University of Pittsburgh and with Westinghouse. The PSC has been extremely important for us in that regard. First it is a partnership that brings these two universities together and do so in a way that allows the two institutions to do something they could not do working alone. And that, of course, has become the model for many other collaborations that the two universities have pursued since the PSC was founded. But the PSC itself as a partnership is extremely important.

There’s no pair in the world like Mike and Ralph. Maybe that’s what Mike meant when he said somewhat weird organization. It’s really a joy to watch these two work together and you the — the people of the PSC know this much better than I. They are a joy to work with. They are the yin and the yang of the PSC and of our two universities. And, it really is a great success and something we should all be very proud of.

Finally, let me thank our sponsors, starting with, of course, the National Science Foundation. We’re very proud of the hundreds of millions of dollars the NSF has invested in us and in the PSC. There’s no greater statement of the confidence of the federal government and the National Science Foundation in particular in our two universities and in Westinghouse than that. They have voted with their money, if you will. Let me also thank the state. It’s not necessarily well known, but the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been a supporter of the PSC every one of those 20 years of our existence to the tune of almost 30 million dollars. And, it continues to be a supporter, and we’re very, very grateful for that. And to the foundations and corporations, all the many which have supported us during these 20 years. So to all of you I say thank you and congratulations.