Kogut simulates quantum chromodynamics
Around the halls of NCSA, he was affectionately referred to as “The Sponge.” University of Illinois physics professor John Kogut, who had been one of the co-principal investigators on the initial proposal for a supercomputer center, was willing to sop up any unused computing cycles.
“John Kogut and his group used half of the original supercomputer,” explained Larry Smarr, NCSA’s first director. “It was a two-processor Cray X-MP, and one of the processors Kogut was able to keep busy doing quantum chromodynamics calculations, basically 24/7.
“We have a wonderful picture of John on a very early Macintosh, and it had a little wire going over to the Cray sitting there. That became the metaphor for NCSA…We knew people came from a PC or a Macintosh, across a network, to the supercomputer. That was not the mode [at the Department of Energy’s national labs]. This was a radical departure, and it was happening just as the PC world was being born.”
Kogut remains one of NCSA’s most prolific users two decades later.