NCSA 30 | Timeline
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Smarr appointed to White House committee

Larry Smarr, then-NCSA director and a pioneer in the movement to dramatically increase the number of academic and industrial researchers using supercomputers, was appointed as a member of the White House Advisory Committee for High Performance Computing and Communications, Information Technology, and the Next Generation Internet. The advisory committee offered guidance to the Clinton administration on accelerating development and adoption of vital information technologies in...

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SGI/Cray Origin2000 comes online

NCSA's SGI/Cray Origin2000, the largest Origin server and the first 128-processor system, was delivered by Silicon Graphics in October 1996. The 128 processors initially were doubled to 256 processors before the end of 1997. The SGI/Cray Origin2000 system was a shared-memory system based on Silicon Graphics' S2MP architecture and was configured with 32 GB of memory. Users were able to easily move to the system from...

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Michael Norman

Norman team wins HPC Challenge at SC95

NCSA not only sponsored the High-Performance Computing Challenge at SC95, the annual supercomputing conference, a team led by those from the center won it in the "Best Integration of Heterogeneous Applications" category. The contest featured 10 groups of researchers seeking to outdo each other in the race for what was at the time the first teraflop-scale computation. Their simulation took advantage of the high-bandwidth, low-latency...

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NCSA transitions to microprocessor-based hardware

By the end of 1994 NCSA removed its traditional vector machines—the Cray Y-MP and CONVEX C3880—leaving machines based solely on microprocessor hardware. The center utilized microprocessor-based systems from three vendors: Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI), Convex Computer Corporation, and Thinking Machines Corporation. A 16-processor SGI POWER CHALLENGE machine was installed in November 1994, a CONVEX Exemplar 8-processor hypernode was installed in April 1994, and the Thinking...

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NASA selects HDF for EOS program

The idea was as simple as it was obvious: NASA wanted a single file format for the data that would stream in from the variety of instruments that would be part of the agency's Earth Observing Satellite program. It took three years to choose from among the 15 options that were presented to the agency by research groups and companies around the country. When NASA...

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Electronic Mosaic article submission in Science

There were in fact days when even technical powerhouses like the American Association for the Advancement of Science did things the old-fashioned way. Typed or word processed manuscripts shuttled among publisher, author and reviewers via the U.S. Postal Service. With the proliferation of email and networking, that had begun to change by August 1994 when Science magazine published its first article submitted electronically. "NCSA Mosaic and...

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GEMS program for middle-school girls begins

The first middle-school girls to participate in the program are in their 30s now, which demonstrates the longevity and popularity of Girls Engaged in Math and Science (GEMS). GEMS (originally called Engaging Young Women in Science, but given the catchier moniker in 1998) was created to encourage girls to consider math and science careers and to gain confidence in doing math and science. Participants have...

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engine combustion simulation

Assanis models combustion in car engines

It's a common quandary for automobile manufacturers: Clean air laws require reductions in pollutants and increases in fuel efficiency, while market pressures push for new designs on faster timelines. Dennis Assanis, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's mechanical and industrial engineering department, performed pioneering work modeling turbulent flows in vehicle engines throughout the mid-1990s on NCSA's high-performance computers. The goal was a "numerical engine"...

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NCSA Mosaic

NCSA Mosaic is released

People had created Web browsers before. In fact Tim Berners-Lee, who first conceived of the World Wide Web while working at CERN, built a rudimentary one himself in 1990. Prior to anyone at NCSA putting down a line of code, researchers in Palo Alto and Berkeley and Helsinki were circulating their own versions, frequently with melodious names like Viola and Cello. NCSA Mosaic broke out in...

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Wai-mo Suen/Ed Seidel gravitational wave simulation

Colliding black holes

As funding and construction of the National Science Foundation's Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Observatories got under way, NCSA researchers were already hard at work, defining the gravitational wave signatures that LIGO would pick up. These observatories, now complete, are among the most sensitive instruments in the world, able to detect variations in the Earth's gravitational field. Cataclysmic astrophysical events—exploding supernovae or colliding black holes, say—are thought...

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