The Super Computing Science Consortium

Pennsylvania-West Virginia partners in
development of clean power technologies.

Formed in 1999 and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Super Computing Science Consortium is a regional partnership of research and educational institutions in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. (SC)2 provides intellectual leadership and advanced computing and communications resources to solve problems in energy and the environment and to stimulate regional high-technology development and education.

PHOTO: : Lynn Layman and Bob Romanowsky

(SC)2 co-chairs Bob Romanosky, NETL (left) and Lynn Layman, PSC

Through (SC)2, Evergreene Technology Park in Greene County provides a resource that supports and encourages companies to collaborate with local universities in southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia and to have access to PSC.

Since the spring of 2000, a high-speed network — the first fiber-optic service to Morgantown, West Virginia — has linked the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) campuses in Morgantown and Pittsburgh with PSC, facilitating NETL collaborations. Researchers at NETL and WVU have actively used this link to tap PSC computational resources. In 2011 this link will be upgraded (as part of a contract between 3ROX, PSC’s network exchange, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Environmental Security Computing Center in Fairmont, West Virginia) from its current bandwidth (155 megabits per second) to 10 gigabits per second.

Research Collaboration: PSC & NETL

Deploying VisIt on NETL’s accelerated cluster allows interactive visualization of results from complex MFIX simulations. This image reveals (color coding on left side) the processors on which different sections of the geometry of a simulation are being rendered.

During 2010, PSC collaborated with NETL staff on three research projects to improve NETL’s ability to use the tools of computational science to advance its work in developing clean, affordable fossil-fuel technologies. One of these projects helped to accelerate the processing speed of MFIX (Multiphase Flow with Interphase Exchanges), NETL’s award-winning software for simulating coal gasification and other clean-coal technologies. A second project improved the ability of NETL researchers to visualize large datasets quickly and easily, which included implementing VisIt, a software package for scalable visual analysis, on NETL’s computing cluster and graphics accelerators. The third effort improved NETL’s ability to handle large, complex, four-dimensional datasets.

PSC and NETL reviewed the first phase of this work in July. Among the highlights to date is that improved visualization capability with VisIt allows NETL to do analyses in minutes that used to take a full day. “Animations that took up to three days will now be possible in near-real time,” says Nick Nystrom, PSC director of strategic applications, who coordinated the collaborative effort, “allowing engineers to save time and to communicate their results more effectively.”

PSC & (SC)2: Research for Clean Energy

Since the 1999 founding of (SC)2, 51 (SC)2 researchers have used PSC systems for a range of clean-energy related projects, using more than six million hours of computing time, over 376,000 hours within the past year.

This work includes: