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Daphne Siefert-Herron
Information Manager, Pervasive Technologies Lab

Last modified: Thursday, February 14, 2008

TeraGrid Knowledge Base achieves milestones in content and use during 2007

Feb. 18, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The University of Chicago and Indiana University announced today that use of the TeraGrid Knowledge Base, a 24/7 online user-driven support system for the TeraGrid, has passed two significant milestones. The TeraGrid Knowledge Base now includes more than 250 articles and during 2007 was accessed by U.S. researchers and information technologists more than 140,000 times. During December alone, the TeraGrid Knowledge Base was accessed nearly 20,000 times.

The TeraGrid, funded by the National Science Foundation, is one of the largest cyberinfrastructure facilities in the world. The goal of the TeraGrid is to transform the nation's capabilities and accomplishments in science by providing access to, and use of, some of the world's fastest supercomputers and largest data storage facilities. The TeraGrid Knowledge Base is one of many tools designed to ease researchers' use of the TeraGrid. Its information spans the gamut -- from how to gain access to the TeraGrid to detailed technical information -- right down to the syntax of very detailed computer commands.

"The TeraGrid is an extremely powerful, but sometimes necessarily complicated, scientific infrastructure," said Matthew Heinzel, director of operations for the University of Chicago-led Grid Infrastructure Group (GIG). "The TeraGrid Knowledge Base provides an excellent way for new users to learn about the TeraGrid, and for experienced users to find help in solving problems they encounter in using the TeraGrid."

TeraGrid Map 2008

TeraGrid Map 2008

The TeraGrid KB is based on the same technology and infrastructure as the award-winning IU Knowledge Base, developed by Indiana University Information Technology Services (UITS). Because of the capability and reliability of the facilities on which it is based, the TeraGrid KB will continue to provide responsive online help as TeraGrid use grows. Use of the Knowledge Base will also help the TeraGrid manage the cost of user support. Using the Knowledge Base to solve a problem costs roughly one tenth the price of a telephone call to a support expert, according to standard industry figures.

"As important as the cost efficiencies are, the quality of the user experience may be even more important," said IU project leader Jonathan Bolte. "When you call a help desk for technical support, you have to write down information being read to you over the phone by a consultant. With the KB, the commands, URLs and detailed technical information are right there, on screen, available at whatever time of day or night you need them."

The TeraGrid Knowledge Base is available directly from the TeraGrid User Portal ( This prominent access to online help is one of many ways the TeraGrid User Portal helps U.S. scientists experience the TeraGrid as a single unified facility. The KB also provides a good way for scientists unfamiliar with the TeraGrid to take a self-directed tour of TeraGrid information. GIG Operations Director Heinzel and IU TeraGrid KB project lead Bolte have the same advice: If you are not familiar with the TeraGrid -- or even if you are -- try the TeraGrid KB, accessible from

About TeraGrid

The TeraGrid, sponsored by the NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure, is a partnership of people, resources and services that enables discovery in U.S. science and engineering. Through coordinated policy, grid software, and high-performance network connections, the TeraGrid integrates a distributed set of high-capability computational, data-management and visualization resources to make research more productive. With Science Gateway collaborations and education programs, the TeraGrid also connects and broadens scientific communities.

About UITS

University Information Technology Services at IU, with offices on the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, develops and maintains a modern information technology environment throughout the university in support of IU's vision for excellence in research, teaching, outreach and lifelong learning.

UITS provides tools and services to support the academic and administrative work of the university, including a high-speed campus network with wireless access, central web hosting, a rich selection of free and low-cost software for personal use, tools and support for instruction and research, and supercomputers for data analysis and visualization.