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Daphne Siefert-Herron
Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and CIO

Last modified: Friday, November 11, 2011

IU opens center to solve challenges of digital scientific research

Nov. 10, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University has established the Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies (CREST) on the IU Bloomington campus. The pioneering research hub will focus on developing computing technologies that address challenges from the ever-increasing volume of digital scientific research data, paving the way for breakthroughs in science and engineering.

CREST is a unit of IU's Pervasive Technology Institute, which was established in 2008 through a $15 million grant from the Lilly Endowment. Since receiving that grant, PTI has successfully led IU to new levels of achievement in the development and delivery of advanced information technology and informatics innovations.

"This research would not be in Indiana without the foresight and investment of the Lilly Endowment," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and CIO. "The reputational success of the Lilly-funded Pervasive Technology Institute enabled IU to create this additional center with highly accomplished researchers. This will not only create jobs but also further investment in Indiana."

Amazon, the Human Genome Project, Facebook and Google are just a few of the well-known applications that will soon face challenges related to the continued acceleration of data growth. CREST will focus on developing breakthrough technologies that can help eliminate these challenges.

Andrew Lumsdaine

Andrew Lumsdaine

Print-Quality Photo

IU recruited Andrew Lumsdaine and Thomas Sterling -- two of the international supercomputing community's foremost thinkers -- to run the center as director and co-director, respectively. Lumsdaine is currently the director of the Open Systems Lab at PTI, while Sterling is best known as the "father of Beowulf" for his pioneering research in commodity/Linux cluster computing. Both are professors in the IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing.

In fall 2011, Sterling came to IU from Louisiana State University, where he was a leader in the development of the ParalleX exascale execution model and the HPX high performance computing runtime system.

Thomas Sterling

Thomas Sterling

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Beth Plale, managing director of PTI, said, "Fields like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and genomics already use supercomputer-scale resources. Andrew and Thomas give CREST superior leadership and expertise to revolutionize computing at this scale, further cementing IU as a recognized leader of innovative infrastructure that responds dynamically to rapid data growth at high speeds."

Sterling added, "Having a wealth of information at our fingertips has changed the way we live, work and learn. By establishing CREST, Indiana University ensures that innovative advancements in science, engineering and technology will continue to enhance our lives and improve our futures."