Supercomputing in Pennsylvania

Cheryl Begandy, PSC director of outreach, coordinates PSC’s programs of corporate research, education & community outreach in Pennsylvania.

PSC Staff talk with Daniel Lentz (center), principal of Intermediate Programs, Fox Chapel High School, and other guests during Discover 09 Open House. Inset: PSC scientist Marcela Madrid (left) talks with a University of Pittsburgh student about her HIV research.

Warhol: HP Blade System

With Commonwealth of Pennsylvania support, PSC provides education, consulting, advanced network access and computational resources to scientists and engineers, teachers and students across the state

Discover 09: PSC Open House

With a turnout of 131 people, including students and teachers from local universities and representatives from governmental organizations, PSC’s first annual “Discover” Open House introduced high-performance computing to a regional audience. PSC animated visual displays highlighted modeling in many fields, such as storm forecasting, earthquake soil vibration and realistic cellular modeling. “With many contacts made and information shared,” said Begandy, “we showed how the revolution of computational science represents an opportunity in many areas, including small business.”

Introducing Warhol: New PSC System Supports Pennsylvania Research
Through an arrangement with Hewlett-Packard (HP), PSC in January made available a 64-core, HP Blade System featuring eight nodes — each housing two Intel Xeon quad-core processors and 16 gigabytes of memory — interconnected by an InfiniBand link. Named Warhol, this new PSC system is provided as a resource to researchers in Pennsylvania.

“At PSC we have collaborated with Hewlett-Packard for many years,” said J. Ray Scott, PSC director of systems and operations, “in development of innovative software and hardware to support research. In making this new system available to PSC, they further our mutually productive partnership.”

K-12 Science Education

With dynamic K-12 educational and outreach programs (see pp. 9-11), PSC helps to prepare technology-ready workers and a science-literate populace. PSC workshops this year trained 120 science teachers in 32 school districts in Western Pennsylvania.

School districts in Pennsylvania are organized into intermediate units (IUs), which provide academic, technical and administrative services for the districts. In November 2008, PSC hosted a group of IU directors from across the state. PSC staff described its K-12 outreach programs, including connectivity through 3ROX (see p. 12) and its new CyberSafety program. In February, PSC repeated this program for the Mercer County IU. Attendees included over 50 administrators, curriculum coordinators and technology directors from 15 districts.

In October 2008, in collaboration with the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach at Carnegie Mellon, PSC sponsored a Symposium on Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Strategies and Practices. To an audience of 32 school superintendents, science curriculum coordinators and STEM teachers from the region, PSC staff presented an overview of STEM-related programs at PSC and Carnegie Mellon and on STEM initiatives regionally and nationally.

Community Outreach

PSC staff take part in numerous outreach programs, locally and nationally. PSC exhibited at the SciTech Initiative in March at the Carnegie Science Center. With a theme of “What is supercomputing and how is it used?,” PSC’s booth — visited by more than 400 attendees — included hands-on materials to stimulate student thinking. As part of this event, PSC was a bronze sponsor of the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Technology Fair in April, presenting awards to students whose projects best exemplified computational science. One of these students, with PSC encouragement, took his project to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair and won third place in Mathematical Sciences.

Private-Sector & University Research

Research by university scientists in Pennsylvania supported by PSC is exemplified by several projects in this booklet:

Modeling the Spread of H1N1

On Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV this October, PSC scientist Shawn Brown demonstrated PSC modeling of the spread of the H1N1 virus in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Brown's work is part of the National Institutes of Health’s Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) project, which supports research to simulate disease spread, evaluate intervention strategies and help inform health policymakers. He collaborates with the Pittsburgh MIDAS Center of Excellence, led by Donald Burke, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

H1N1 modeling graphic by Shawn Brown, PSC

Research & Training at Pennsylvania Companies, Colleges & Universities, 2008-2009

From July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009, PSC provided nearly 12.5 million total processor hours to 670 individual Pennsylvania researchers from 36 institutions. PSC workshops in high-performance computing reached 175 Pennsylvania grad and undergrad students. If purchased from a commercial provider, this computing time would be valued, conservatively, at nearly $12 million. The following Pennsylvania universities and colleges used PSC resources during this period:

Allegheny-Singer Research Institute
Bloomsburg university of Pennsylvania
Bryn Mawr College
Bucknell University
Cabrini College
Carnegie Mellon University
Cedar Crest College
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
Drexel University
Duquesne University
Franklin and Marshall College
Haverford College
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
(all campuses) Lehigh University
Lock Haven University
Pennsylvania State University (all campuses)
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
Temple University
Thomas Jefferson University
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh (all campuses)
Ursinus College
Villanova University
Waynesburg College