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U.S. computing grid gets $148 million boost

National Science Foundation will fund an expansion of a collection of interconnected supercomputing facilities called the TeraGrid.

The National Science Foundation will spend $148 million more during the next five years to expand the Extensible Terascale Facility, a collection of interconnected supercomputing facilities also called the TeraGrid.

The NSF has funded the TeraGrid for years. The project began as a pair of Itanium-based clusters at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and San Diego Supercomputing Center, but expanded to include the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and several other sites.

Of the new funding, $48 million will go to an effort led by the University of Chicago to build the overall system, integrate software, run operations and coordinate user support, the federal funding agency said on Wednesday. The remaining $100 million will fund operations and support at eight other sites involved in TeraGrid.

About 1,000 scientists have used the TeraGrid directly so far, a number the organization predicts will increase to at least 3,000 by 2009. Research projects on the system include studying brain mechanisms, storm forecasting, diagnosing diseases, predicting earthquake effects, planning groundwater decontamination projects and studying the "dark energy" involved in the expansion of the universe.

Other sites involved in running the TeraGrid are Indiana University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Purdue University, Texas Advanced Computing Center, the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.