Cornell Theory Center nominated by Michael Dell for Computerworld Smithsonian Awards

ITHACA, N.Y. - An innovative approach to supercomputing at the Cornell Theory Center (CTC) will become part of the Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History on April 3. Induction into the collection is a result of the nomination of CTC and its Advanced Cluster Computing Consortium (AC3) for a Computerworld Smithsonian Award in the education and academia category. CTC and the AC3 were nominated for the honor by Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive office of Dell Computer Corp. The awards, to be presented in June, were established in 1989 to document the progress of information technology.

CTC's achievement, through AC3, is described in the official "case study" submitted to the Smithsonian as being unique in its emphasis on uniting hardware manufacturers, software producers, and users to advance the capabilities of high performance computing based solely on components that are commercially available.  This "off-the-shelf" supercomputer has been named the Velocity cluster. In the past, such high-performance computers have been built from expensive, custom-designed and developed technologies.

Founded in 1988, the Computerworld Smithsonian awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated vision and leadership in using information technology in innovative ways across 10 categories: business and related serices; education and academia; environment, energy and agriculture; finance, insurance and real estate; government and non-profit organizations; manufacturing; media, arts and entertainment; medicine; science; and transportation.

This year, 440 innovative applications of technology from 38 states and 21 countries have been nominated for the awards. "The laureates in this year's collection are utilizing new information age tools to extend the benefits of technology to society," said Dan Morrow, executive director of the awards. The material submitted by CTC "will enrich the National Museum of American History's growing collection on the history of information technology, and contribute significantly to the museum's on-going efforts to chronicle the information age," said Spencer R. Crew, director of the museum, which is part of the Smithsonian.

CTC director Thomas F. Coleman noted that building a supercomputing environment from parts and software that are widely available "off the shelf" has been an exciting technical challenge, but one that is achievable with the support of AC3 members. "Our Velocity cluster has put us on the fast path to the future of supercomputing, " he said. CTC created AC3 with manufacturers of personal computing hardware and software, Dell, Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. Last week, CTC announced that Velocity cluster was in full production serving CTC's broad-based user community.