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Sun Microsystems, IU establish center for power computing

By Craig Stewart
Projections are that the addition of the Starfire server will put the IU system on the list of top 500 supercomputers in the world. Sun Microsystems Inc. and Indiana University have announced the formation of a Center of Excellence that will offer IU researchers and students new, more powerful resources and opportunities in the areas of high performance computing, networking and storage, data mining and visualization.

Scott McNealy, Sun chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement last week during a keynote address at the annual Midwest Business Conference in Indianapolis, sponsored by IUís Kelley School of Business.

"Indiana Universityís leadership in information technology and IT research is highly respected in both the academic world and the business communities," said McNealy. "With this announcement, Sun commits itself to an ongoing, highly integrated relationship with IU that will have enormous payoffs for students, researchers and others who benefit from their efforts."

As part of the Center of Excellence, IU will acquire a Sun Enterprise 10000 server, popularly known as the Starfire, which will be a major addition to the universityís high performance computing facilities. The Sun Enterprise 10000 server is one of the worldís leading servers and, with 64 processors and 64 GB of memory, IUís Sun Enterprise 10000 server will have a peak processing capacity of 51.2 GFLOPS (one billion floating operations per second, a benchmark for measuring the speed of microprocessors).

The IU system is expected to appear on the list of the 500 largest supercomputers in the world when that list is revised in June.

At IU, the server will be used in a variety of disciplines, including the rendering of graphics and virtual reality images, as well as for research in the fields of astronomy, chemistry, engineering, physics and computer science. It provides a substantial expansion of IUís capability for shared memory supercomputing, allowing various kinds of computer programs in these areas to run at peak efficiency.

"This server, along with the acquisition of other Sun hardware for IUís computer messaging systems, and a commitment to joint research initiatives, launch a significant alliance between Indiana University and Sun Microsystems," said IU President Myles Brand. "Sunís leadership in both technology research and the education community is universally known, and weíre excited about this relationship and the opportunities it provides for IU in so many strategic areas."

Sun and IU are finalizing the initial joint research programs at the new Center of Excellence. The first of these are expected to be in high performance computing, especially in the design of Java technology extensions for supercomputers, high performance networking and storage, using Internet2. Further projects are expected to follow in data mining and visualization.

In addition to the establishment of the Center of Excellence, McNealy announced the funding of a fellowship at IUís Kelley School of Business. The fellowship, in the amount of $25,000 each year for two years, will be awarded to a deserving master of business administration student.



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