A Cloudburst of Computing Power

Grazed from Sciencemag.org. Author: Vijaysree Venkatraman.

If data driven discovery becomes the norm, more scientists will need to upgrade from their desktop computers to more powerful, scalable computing systems. As director of research–physical sciences at the eScience institute at the University of Washington (UW), it's Jeffrey Gardner's job to help researchers with that migration.

In addition to being a facilitator of computational work, Gardner is a computational astrophysicist. He has run code that utilized all 100,000-plus computer processing unit (CPU) cores and 10,000-plus hard drives of the supercomputer Kraken at the National Supercomputing Center at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. He works part-time at Google, as a visiting scientist. Before joining UW, he was senior scientific specialist at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. So, he knows about resources for scientific computation...

It's not that computational resources are hard to come by; they are available from a variety of sources. In fact, in addition to his other duties, Gardner is UWs campus ambassador for the National Science Foundation's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) program, which for 25 years has made computation and storage platforms available, free-of-charge to academic researchers in the United States with high-performance computing (HPC) needs. "I have been shouting FREE COMPUTING TIME from the rooftops for about 5 years now," he writes by e-mail. "By funding a dozen or so sites across the country, NSF ensured that every researcher gets the same access to the resources no matter where they are located."...

Read more from the source @ http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2013_08_20/caredit.a1300177