PSC News Center

Mark A. Nordenberg’s Remarks

Thank you, Beverly, and good afternoon, everyone. Let me begin by saying what a privilege it is to be a part of the same line-up as Steve Tritch, one of Pitt’s most distinguished graduates, and Jerry Cohon, one of Pitt’s most committed and capable partners. And what we have gathered to celebrate today are the wonderful products of a very special partnership-one that, in a range of ways, will advance science, enhance the human condition, and provide an economic boost to our region.

When major research universities such as the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University not only combine their strengths, but also join forces with industry-in this case, Westinghouse and Cray-and benefit from the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), other federal agencies, and the commonwealth, the results can be extraordinary. Ten trillion calculations per second are extraordinary enough-some might say unimaginable. But what really matters is the work-work of impact across so many wide-ranging and important fields-that will be supported by the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, or PSC for short.

For those not familiar with the history of the center, let me just say that as the federal program was getting started, now many years ago, we were something of an afterthought. And, over the course of its existence, our center has gone through some near-death experiences. Therefore, we are particularly grateful for the support from the NSF that has made it possible for us to acquire “Big Ben”-and, in the process, to position the PSC to continue as one of the world’s leading centers for high-end supercomputing. Let me thank, in particular, Arden Bement and Peter Freeman for their continued support of our center.

Of course a center like this one requires more than equipment. Its successes also are tied to the tireless efforts of creative and committed people. Many people deserve to share in the credit for the successes of the PSC. However, in my effort to be brief, I would like to acknowledge just two of them. They are Michael Levine and Ralph Roskies, professors of physics at Carnegie Mellon and Pitt, respectively, and scientific codirectors of the PSC. They deserve enormous credit, both for our past successes and for delivering “Big Ben” to us today. Combined, Ralph and Michael have dedicated more than 40 years to building and sustaining our extraordinary supercomputing capabilities. Their vision and commitment have been at the heart of our success, and they really have taken the concept of partnering to a new level.

To highlight just one initiative under the leadership of Ralph, Michael, and the PSC’s dedicated executive director, Beverly Clayton, the center joined with the National Energy Technology Laboratory and eight other colleges, universities, and research institutions in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to create a partnership-the SuperComputing Science Consortium. This partnership has added benefits to the region, including better research capabilities and access to high-speed fiber optic networks. And, as a member of the partnership, the PSC encourages small businesses in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to interact with the area’s leading academic and research institutions, with the goal of promoting regional economic growth. The center also trains the leaders of tomorrow through the development of high performance computing curricula for middle and high school teachers.

This is a great day for the University of Pittsburgh, for our partners, for the region, and for the cause of science-and I really do feel privileged to share it with you.


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Michael Schneider
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

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