Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
News Release

April 28, 2000

Regional Network Inaugurated at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

DOE Undersecretary Moniz cites southwest Pa.-West Virginia partnership as key to energy, environmental challenges.

DOE Undersecretary Ernest J. Moniz (left) plugs cables together to officially inaugurate a new network linking WVU and NETL with the Pittsburgh Gigapop. Looking on are PSC network engineer Steve Cunningham; Lynn Layman, Westinghouse Electric Company; Ralph Roskies, PSC scientific director; and Rita Bajura, director, NETL.

PITTSBURGH — By plugging together two cables in the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) network room yesterday afternoon, Undersecretary Ernest J. Moniz of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) inaugurated a high-speed network that, he says, will play a vital role in development of technologies for clean, efficient fossil-fuel combustion. "With this link," said Moniz, "we connect DOE's newest national laboratory with new tools of discovery that are transforming science."

Moniz's PSC visit highlighted a new fiber-optic network connecting West Virginia University (WVU) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) with PSC's Internet hub, providing high-performance network services to NETL and WVU. As Moniz plugged the cables together, instantaneously a video screen lit up showing Dr. David Hardesty, president of West Virginia University, at the WVU Virtual Environmental Lab in Morgantown. "This brings greater capability for scientific work," said Hardesty, speaking in real-time over the network to an audience at PSC. Hardesty praised the link for its ability to foster collaboration among WVU, NETL and PSC.

In December 1999, NETL — formerly the Federal Energy Technology Center — was designated as DOE's newest national laboratory. Moniz noted that NETL research is directed toward a critical environmental challenge: innovative technologies for fossil-fuel combustion. "Developing technologies to use fossil-fuel more efficiently and cleanly — that's NETL's key mission," said Moniz. "With the combined brainpower of West Virginia University and Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, we will press forward to solve these problems."

NETL Combustor

This frame from simulations by NETL researchers (rendered by PSC scientist Nick Nystrom) depicts temperature during methane combustion in the NETL Dynamic Gas Turbine Combustor.

PSC staff presented animations of computer simulations carried out by NETL at PSC: One showed the first 3D simulation of fluidized-bed combustion of fossil fuels, a combustion method that eliminates ozone emissions by catalytic processes. Another animation showed simulation of methane combustion in NETL's advanced gas-turbine combustor, which reduces nitrogen-oxide pollutants and alleviates turbulence that creates problems in the turbine blades.

"I've been a strong advocate of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and NETL since I first came to Congress," said U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D, Pa-18) in a statement. "They are two of the crown jewels in our region, and I am very pleased to have helped secure the federal funds necessary to establish this new step in their continuing collaboration. As the economic and technological advancement of our region accelerates, these resources will prove essential for enhancing our regional growth as well as advancing energy and environmental technologies."

Moniz lauded West Va. Senator Byrd and Congressman Mollohan for their efforts in support of NETL. Representatives from the offices of Pa. Senators Specter and Santorum and Congressman Klink were present at PSC. Others present included NETL director, Rita Bajura, the first woman to direct a DOE national laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University President Jared Cohon and University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg. Lynn Layman of Westinghouse Electric Company, instrumental in forging the PSC-NETL-WVU partnership, coordinated the "ribbon-cutting" ceremony.

NETL has offices in Pittsburgh and Morgantown. Its mission is to solve national energy and environmental problems with emphasis on developing cleaner, more efficient technologies for fossil-fuel combustion. In August 1999, with DOE sponsorship, NETL, PSC, CMU and WVU and the West Virginia Governor's Office of Technology formed a regional partnership, the Super Computing Science Consortium, to foster research and economic development in the southwest Pennsylvania-West Virginia region.

More information, including high-resolution images from computer simulations, is available at http://www.psc.edu/publicinfo/netl

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh together with the Westinghouse Electric Company. It was established in 1986 and is supported by several federal agencies, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and private industry.

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See also:

Speedy Data Link Will Aid Fossil Fuel Research — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Fiber-optic cable links Pittsburgh, Morgantown — Tribune-Review


Michael Schneider

© Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC)
Revised: April 28, 2000

URL: http://www.psc.edu/publicinfo/news/2000/netl_04-28-2000.html