What exactly is the National Center for Supercomputing Applications?
When the center opened to the research community in 1986,
the researchers using the supercomputers were from the
traditional disciplines of physics, chemistry, materials, and
astrophysics. But researchers in other disciplines quickly realized they, too, could also transform their fields by using supercomputing. Today the growth areas include
commercial and financial data mining and networked World Wide Web
multimedia asset management.
NCSA is also dedicated to improving the competitive position
of American industry by selecting leading corporations in a
variety of industry categories to partner with NCSA in a non-
Industrial Program. These Fortune 500 companies are
at NCSA to learn about all aspects of cutting-edge hardware and
software, virtual prototyping, visualization, networking, and
data mining. Current partners include: Allstate Insurance Co.,
American Airlines, AT&T, Caterpillar Inc., Dow Chemical, Eastman Kodak Co., Eli Lilly & Co., FMC, J. P. Morgan, Motorola Inc., Phillips Petroleum Co.,
Schlumberger Ltd., Sears, Roebuck and Co., Tribune Company, and United Technologies.
NCSA works closely with vendors and a strong computer
science faculty team to bring users the most advanced methods
in high-performance scalable computing. The center currently
maintains these supercomputers: Silicon Graphics POWER CHALLENGEarray, HP/Convex Exemplar, and Thinking Machines CM-5.
Scientists and researchers associated with NCSA provide
never ending challenges in all areas of computational research.
Their need to solve complex problems, to comprehend billions of
numbers, to collaborate, and to access information have led to
advances in cyberspace technologies and virtual reality.
Since its beginning NCSA has developed desktop software to
help users navigate cyberspace. In 1992 the release of the network browser Mosaic provided the basis of a technology that is generating the "gold rush" on the Internet. NCSA is now creating a powerful
desktop-based collaborative software environment that will help eliminate distance barriers for virtual teams.
NCSA's Virtual Environment Laboratory is one of the world's
most advanced virtual reality (VR) research laboratories
available to academic and industrial researchers. The lab
consists primarily of three projection-based modes of VR --- the CAVE(tm) and the ImmersaDesk(tm) (developed by the Electronic
Visualization Laboratory [EVL] at the University of Illinois at
Chicago), and the Infinity Wall (developed by EVL in collaboration
with NCSA and the University of Minnesota.
Having a computer is quite different from using one to its
fullest capabilities. NCSA understands that transferring
necessary technical skills and information is vital for
prolonged growth and success of any activity. This transfer is
accomplished by providing computational science, networking
technologies, and information technology training to fellow
researchers, students, other educators, lifelong learners,
government and community organizations, and members of the
NCSA addresses science and curriculum issues through
programs designed not only to give a technical jump start to a
school but also to provide continuing support to educators and
their administrators. Current major programs include: the
Education Affiliates (EA) program, the Resource for Science Education
the Networking Infrastructure for Education
EduLinK-12 (Illinois Education Link), Tech Corps Illinois, and
Illinois Learning Mosaic (ILM,) a
World Wide Web-based educational information resource.
NCSA's community networking and technology transfer program
works with various communities to deploy HPCC technology and
applications at the local, state, regional, and national
levels. The center's CCNet (Champaign County Network)
collaboration with its host community has received national
recognition as an innovative application of the National
Information Infrastructure and as a model for other
communities. Chicago Mosaic, a collaborative project with the
City of Chicago, is investigating the use of World Wide Web
technologies to communicate between large city government and
the citizens of that community as well as the rest of the
NCSA is a unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana-
Champaign and was established in 1985 with a grant from the
National Science Foundation. In addition to NSF grant funds,
NCSA receives major funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency, NASA, corporate partners, the State of Illinois, and
the University of Illinois. This info is from NCSA's Brief Description Page