Rendell Stresses Skilled Workforce for Economic Growth
WAYNESBURG, July 17, 2006 — The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania upped funding to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center for the next fiscal year by 65 percent to $2.5 million, said Governor Ed Rendell, because its services are important to the state. “This is a great institution that spreads its wings throughout the southwest Pennsylvania region,” he said, speaking Friday afternoon at Waynesburg College, “and we’re grateful for that.”
Economic development was the theme of the event, “Regional Business Opportunities in Supercomputing” a seminar put on by the Supercomputing Science Consortium (SC2), a regional partnership of nine colleges, universities and research organizations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. SC2 provides intellectual leadership and resources in high-performance computing and communications to advance research capabilities of the region.
Rendell spoke during an afternoon panel discussion on “Federal, State and Other Funding Opportunities for Regional Small Businesses, Colleges and Universities.” The Pennsylvania economy, he said, must compete not only against other states, but also increasingly against corporations around the world and as far away as Singapore. “The currency of where growth will occur in our new economy,” said Rendell, “lies with innovation and the availability of a skilled work force.”
A Pennsylvania initiative included in the newly passed budget, Rendell highlighted, authorizes $200 million to provide each student in Pennsylvania public schools from fourth grade upward with an internet-equipped laptop computer.
Participants in the panel were Errol Arkilic, Program Manager, Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs, National Science Foundation; Chris Gabriel, Innovation Economy Program Director, Heinz Endowments; Brian Kennedy, Government Relations Director, Pittsburgh Technology Council; Paul Hill Jr., Executive Director, West Virginia EPSCoR, and Susan Zelicoff, of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.
A keynote speech by Stephen Meacham, Program Director, Office of Cyberinfrastructure, National Science Foundation, followed a poster session presenting research by students from regional colleges, including West Virginia University, Waynesburg College, the University of Puerto Rico, the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, the University of Miami, Cornell University, Alderson Broadus College and a K-12 project from ASSET.
Meacham highlighted high-end computing as an engine for competitiveness. “What the Supercomputing Consortium has done,” he said, “is show how you can leverage the investment of the National Science Foundation by pulling together universities with local development opportunities. It represents a microcosm of how society can be transformed by investment.”
Through SC2, Evergreene Technology Park in Greene County provides a channel for companies to collaborate with local universities in southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia and to have access to exceptional computing resources of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.
The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh together with Westinghouse Electric Company. Established in 1986, PSC is supported by several federal agencies, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and private industry, and is a partner in the National Science Foundation TeraGrid program.