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MINNESOTA HIGH TECH TEAM WINS INTERNATIONAL SUPERCOMPUTING COMPETITION

 MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 24 ~PRNewswire~ -- A team comprised of the Minnesota Supercomputer Center, Inc. (MSCI), the Army High Performance Computer Research Center (AHPCRC), and the University of Minnesota walked off with the top honors at the international "Supercomputing '92 Conference" held last week in Minneapolis.
 Named "Best of the Best," the Minnesota team out performed advanced, high performance computing specialists recognized around the world in a challenge that used supercomputers to model the thermal convection of the Earth's interior.
 Facing off against four other teams in the Challenge finals, the Minnesota team was judged consistently high in the four required competitive categories of speed, creativity, connectivity and real world application.
 The winning entry made use of sophisticated hardware and software resources, including the Cray Research, Inc. CRAY-2 supercomputer, the Thinking Machines Corporation Connection Machine CM-200 and CM-5 supercomputers, all located at MSCI, and software developed by MSCI for the U.S. Army.
 Participants in and visitors to the supercomputing conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center were able to see and hear the ultra-high speed computation as it occurred. A large-screen television monitor on the floor of the convention center provided a new view of the flow of fluid inside the Earth every 30 seconds. The flow was painted in various colors depicting temperature and motion.
 Supercomputing '92 is an international conference, sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Sigarch, which annually attracts thousands of attendees from around the world and showcases the latest developments in the field of high performance computing technology.
 The Army High Performance Computing Research Center is supported by the United States Army Research Office Mathematical and Computer Sciences Division under a Department of the Army contract, which was awarded the University of Minnesota and MSCI in 1989.
 The Minnesota Supercomputer Center, Inc. is a for-profit corporation, founded in 1982, which provides advanced super computing services to industrial, governmental and academic clientele across the United States. MSCI has operated 14 different supercomputer systems since its inception. MSCI is owned jointly by the University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Foundation.
 TECHNICAL SUMMARY
 This work is on the leading-edge of one of the most widely discussed topics in advanced computing today. By applying the unique characteristics of different computer architectures to those areas of a problem for which they are best suited, the solution not only may be achieved more quickly, but perhaps becomes feasible for the first time. However, the challenges involved in coordinating systems of dramatically different design, from different vendors, and in causing them to communicate at high speeds, are recognized as significant. The Heterogeneous Computing Challenge was developed to showcase the state of the art in dealing with such issues.
 The Minnesota demonstration made use of three supercomputers located at MSCI; a Cray Research, Inc. CRAY-2, a Thinking Machines Corporation Connection Machine CM-5, and a Thinking Machines Corporation Connection Machine CM-200. Also used was a Silicon Graphics, Inc. 4D VGX graphics workstation, located in the AHPCRC booth at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
 The award winning AHPCRC demonstration was a study of the thermal convection of the Earth's mantle. The principal investigator was Dr. Andrei Malevsky of the University of Minnesota. Infinite Prandtl number convection served as a model to understand the thermal evolution of the Earth's interior. The simulation employed a method of characteristics in three dimension, where cubic splines are used for the spatial discretization of the stream-function and temperature fields. Each step was determined by the Lagrangian formulation of the time-derivative operator, and a conjugate-gradient scheme was employed for solving the momentum equation.
 Visitors to the display were able to see and hear the computation as it happened. A large-screen television monitor depicted the progress of the computations on the computer systems, and across the communications path, while sound effects underscored their progress. Every 30 seconds, a new view of the flow of fluid in the Earth was painted on the screen, in blue, salmon, and gold (depicting the temperature and motion). In addition to providing a continuous show for the audience, Malevsky made significant progress on his research during the course of the convention, as the demonstration produced actual results for his scientific research work in geology.
 The computation took place in four stages. First, the CM-5 determined the continuous state variables for the field: fluid density, temperature and momentum. This information was then passed to the CRAY- 2, where one million tracer particles were injected into the model. The paths of these particles were followed to determine macroscopic convection patterns and to generate statistics on convection and heat entropy.
 The CM-200 composited the particles and the fluid. It then projected the combined data stream onto a rectilinear 3-dimensional grid. The CM-200 then applied color and opacity transfer functions, creating a 3-dimensional volume of raster data called a "brick of bytes." Finally, the Silicon Graphics workstation displayed the brick of bytes using BoB, an interactive real-time volume renderer developed at the AHPCRC. The total calculation time from end-to-end took less than 30 seconds per volume for an eight million voxel grid (256x256x128) containing one million particles. As each frame of the movie was generated, it was written to a disk array at 12 million bytes per second, and then it was played back at 30 frames per second from inside a "window" on an IRIS workstation.
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 ~NOTE: Additional technical details of the specific computing, communications, and software technology used can be obtained by contacting Bob Williams, 612-626-1560 at Minnesota Supercomputer Center, Inc.
 CRAY-2 is a trademark of Cray Research, Inc.; Connection Machine is a registered trademark and CM-200 and CM-5 are trademarks of Thinking Machines Corporation; The Army High Performance Computing Research Center is supported by the United States Army Research Office Mathematical and Computer Sciences Division under Department of the Army contract number DAAL03-89-C-0038~
 ~CONTACT: Bob Williams of the Minnesota Supercomputer Center, 612-626-1560~


CO: Minnesota Supercomputer Center ST: Minnesota IN: CPR SU:

AL -- MN007 -- 1122 11~24~92 14:00 EST
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Date:Nov 24, 1992
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