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Julie Wernert

David Bricker
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Monday, September 22, 2003

Four IU computer science projects to receive $4.5 million in NSF funding

Indiana University researchers will receive more than $4.5 million in new grants from the National Science Foundation to improve weather modeling, protect crucial scientific data and develop software that girds "grid" computing. Summaries of the four projects follow.

IU Bloomington computer scientists Dennis Gannon and Beth Plale will use their $1.5 million portion of a larger, three-year Information Technology Research grant to develop a new weather-modeling computer system that takes advantage of improvements in high-speed networking and computer power. Currently, weather forecasts are generated from a series of data "snapshots," with a lot of weather information lost between each snapshot. The new weather modeling system will use a constant flow of data from weather stations to achieve more accuracy in local forecasts.

IUB computer scientist Andrew Lumsdaine will lead a $650,000, three-year NSF Middleware Initiative (NMI) project to develop "middleware" that protects a scientist's computer data even when the underlying hardware fails. Middleware is a layer of software between a network and computer applications that provides services such as identification, authorization and security. Reliable middleware allows scientists to focus more fully on their research without having to worry about the reliability of their computing tools.

Pervasive Technology Labs (PTL) research scientist and project leader Marlon Pierce, PTL Community Grids Lab Director Geoffrey Fox, and IUB computer scientists Dennis Gannon and Beth Plale will use their $870,000 portion of a larger, three-year NMI grant to develop a software system that makes it easier for people to participate in grid computing projects. Grid computing is a relatively new phenomenon, in which many computers in different locations are networked together in order to cooperate on a single computing problem. Grids also enable scientists to collaborate more fluidly.

IUB computer scientists Donald F. McMullen, Randall Bramley and Kenneth Chiu and IUB chemist John C. Huffman will use a $1.5 million, three-year NMI grant to develop a software interface that helps make available large scientific instruments to biomedical researchers across the globe through a grid computing environment. Such a grid can dramatically increase the ability of research collaborators to access and share large, centrally located and costly scientific instruments, as well as to easily access and analyze data collected from these instruments, regardless of their physical location.

Pervasive Technology Labs serves as an economic development catalyst for Indiana's information technology sector through technology transfer, commercialization of innovations produced in the labs, and joint research and development partnerships with government and industry.

To speak with any of the researchers listed in this release, contact David Bricker at 812-856-9035,, or Julie Wernert at 812-856-5517,