The Illinois Jobs Now! capital plan, as signed by Governor Quinn in July 2009, provided $60 million to support the development of the National Petascale Computing Facility (NPCF) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.   This investment will provide a physical home for the Blue Waters sustained-petaflop supercomputer which is expected to be the most powerful supercomputer in the world for open scientific research when it comes online in 2011.  The NPCF will also support state-of-the-art cyber security, including monitoring of all exit bandwidth.

This recent, significant investment in supercomputing and cyber security underscores our state’s ongoing profile as a place where high performance computing (HPC) is applied to address real world problems.  Illinois’ profile as a supercomputing powerhouse stretches back over 60 years, when the ORDVAC and ILLIAC I were developed at the University of Illinois.  In the years that have elapsed, the products and findings have had a profound impact on science and society.

In the early 1950s, the ORDVAC was used by the Army Ballistic Research Laboratory for ballistics tests.  Today, researchers have access to processing one thousand times faster than the average desktop computer allowing them to investigative, for example, simulations of the spread of disease in order to predict and deter a potential epidemic and the design of new materials required for lithium-air batteries capable of powering cars for 500 miles on a single charge.  Today, scientists from across the globe are utilizing supercomputers in Illinois for their research.

Illinois is poised to advance as an HPC leader in the 21st century, and we think the next 60 years of HPC will be even more remarkable than the past six decades. We invite you to explore our state’s rich history, and hear from many of our leaders on the ground-breaking work they are doing today.

Watch and Listen:

NIU Jazz Lab Band performs for SuperComputing Conference via Internet2

An arms race: Jim Barlow discusses cybersecurity at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications


Catalyst Exclusive Guest Commentaries

Illinois – A Leader in Cyber Security
Information Trust Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Recent major cyber security stories in the national media have drawn attention to America’s vulnerability to cyber attack, especially after a massive botnet was found to have spent 18 months stealing private information from over 2,400 companies before it was finally discovered in January 2010. Such stories have raised awareness about the urgent need for cyber security research to combat such threats.  More

Illinois Supercomputers Power Scientific Breakthroughs, Technological Innovations
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
Supercomputing may seem remote, or even like something out of science fiction. But the work done with these extremely powerful computers touches many facets of our everyday lives, from the packaging of the coffee at the supermarket to the molecular formula of pharmaceuticals, from the prediction of severe weather to understanding our changing climate. And for more than two decades, some of the most powerful computers in the world have been here in Illinois, at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).  More

Supercomputing = Super Science
Argonne National Laboratory
Illinois is home to one of the world’s fastest and most energy-efficient supercomputers, an IBM Blue Gene/P named Intrepid.  The 163,840-processor machine has a peak performance of 557 teraflops and is located at Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago.   Operated for the U.S. Department of Energy, the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) is one of just two leadership computing facilities in the country that provide access to world-class computation resources as well as dedicated teams of computational scientists and engineers to support research efforts across a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines. More

Toward Petascale and Exascale Resilience
Illinois Institute of Technology
There is good news and bad news in the field of high performance computing (HPC). The good news is that high performance computing systems are getting more and more powerful. On the other hand, they also become bigger. Production systems typically contain hundreds of thousands of CPU cores these days. As systems continue to grow in size and complexity, Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) is dramatically reduced: the number of hours you can run your application before everything grinds to a halt just keeps getting smaller.  More

Customized Input/Output: Fueling Supercomputing to New Highs
Illinois Institute of Technology
Supercomputers are critical to contemporary scientific research and discovery. They are widely used in solving many challenging scientific problems such as weather forecasting, molecular structure modeling, quantum mechanical physics, and physical simulations (e.g. simulation of airplanes in wind tunnels, simulation of nuclear fusion, etc.). In recent years, supercomputers have achieved remarkable computational performance. More

Learn more about Illinois’ accomplishments in Supercomputing and Cyber Security:

More News:

Wednesday-Thursday, April 21-22, 2010

Fairmont Hotel 200 North Columbus Drive | Chicago, Illinois
Register Now

Grand Challenges Summit
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges are a grouping of critical problems that must be addressed and solved in order to maintain the United States’ national security, quality of life and sustainable future. They are a call to action and will engage the public to understand the importance of technology, policy and science to maintain and enhance our standard of living.
The Chicago 2010 Summit is designed to stimulate the engineering, science and policy advances needed to solve these four Grand Challenges:

  • Clean Water
  • Carbon, Energy and Climate
  • Urban Sustainability
  • Global Health

More information: [email protected]

Presented by Illinois Institute of Technology and Chicago Council on Science and Technology, in partnership with Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign