NSF forms cyber panel

A new advisory committee at the National Science Foundation will report this summer on how the agency's research instruments, super-computers and high-performance networks could be integrated into a more powerful cyberinfrastructure.

The NSF's Advisory Committee for Cyber-infrastructure—which will have about a dozen members—was established in late February to design a road map for the agency to connect computing resources at facilities across the country. The goal is to create a distributed computing network capable of complex calculations in overlapping research areas.

The areas of research include milli-meter array radio telescopes, a network of earthquake engineering simulators, a South Pole network and a future distributed network of teraflop computers. A teraflop is 1 trillion floating-point calculations per second.

"What they all have in common is they all generate terabit data and need to display it. By and large, they are geographically distributed or the users are geographically distributed," said Ruzena Bajcsy, NSF assistant director for computer and information science and engineering. "What doesn't exist today is the integrated system."

NSF intends to use the advisory committee's report to create a five-year program that would serve all the sciences, Bajcsy said.

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