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MINNNESOTA SUPERCOMPUTER CENTER PARTICIPATES IN NEW RESEARCH EFFORT

MINNNESOTA SUPERCOMPUTER CENTER PARTICIPATES IN NEW RESEARCH EFFORT
 MINNEAPOLIS, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- One of Minnesota's foremost technology firms, Minnesota Supercomputer Center, Inc. (MSCI), announced today that it is a key participant in a new research effort to integrate high performance computing technology with a communications highway capable of transmitting enormous amounts of information at ultra-high speeds. The group of industrial, government, and academic organizations which is embarking on this research project to develop and apply the high performance communications network technology of tomorrow is known by the acronym MAGIC, which stands for Multidimensional Applications and Gigabit Internetwork Consortium.
 The MAGIC project plans to use high-speed fiber optic network facilities provided by Sprint to build a long-distance network capable of transmitting information at speeds of well over a billion bits per second. The fastest commercially available networks today typically transmit data at up to tens of millions of bits per second. The new network will be based on the Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), an evolving standard. ATM is expected to form the basis for future communications of large volumes of information at high speeds, including everything from multimedia video and audio to computer data.
 The research to develop this new communications network will be funded by the Department of Defense, through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). MSCI officials indicated that it expects to receive about $2 million for its role in the three-year MAGIC project.
 Robert Williams, executive vice president of MSCI, described the effort as "opening up horizons which can facilitate a variety of applications, many of which can't even be imagined today." He went on to note that MSCI is "extremely pleased to have the opportunity to participate. The technology involved in this important project represents a major step towards realizing the federal government's High Performance Computing and Communication Program's goal of achieving a 100-fold increase in available computer communications capability by 1996," Williams said.
 Part of the research project entails demonstration of a terrain visualization application which uses the network. As conceived, the MAGIC project will use the Sprint network to link up MSCI with the Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center, of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Mapping Division, in Souix Falls, S.D. Data will be drawn from EROS to be processed on a massively parallel supercomputer system at the Army High Performance Computing Research Center (AHPCRC), based at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Images will be stored on an Image Server System developed by the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. These images will be transmitted at high speed to the U.S. Army Future Battle Laboratory (FBL) at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. FBL is having the terrain visualization application developed by SRI International, formerly known as the Stanford Research Institute.
 In explaining this application, Williams said "imagine the ability to fly over a remote landscape of your choice, viewing the terrain, to swoop down and begin driving, and finally to walk through the area, as you control your speed, direction of travel, and view. The scene will reflect reality, based on satellite images, information describing the geographical position of objects using the Global Positioning System (GPS), and other data collected from repositories thousands of miles away, processed by advanced supercomputers, and delivered to you at unprecedented speeds, all using advanced communications technologies."
 The project will require supercomputing power and the very high speed communications in order to process the large volumes of data that will be input from satellite images, aerial photography and digital models of the area. Additional real-time data, such as weather and video, could be incorporated into the application at the later stages of the project.
 At the outset, four sites will be connected by this new high-speed network. They will be: MSCI and the Army High Performance Computing Research Center, both located in Minneapolis; the Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Center in Sioux Falls; the Army's Future Battle Laboratory in Fort Leavenwith; and the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Timothy Salo, MSCI's Director of Networking, said that "participation in this project continues Minnesota's tradition as one of the major sources of innovation and development in high performance networking."
 Joining the Minnesota Supercomputer Center, Inc., in addition to Sprint, in the MAGIC consortium for this three-year project are: the Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Center, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, SRI International and the University of Kansas. Also participating in the project are: the Army High Performance Computing Research Center; Digital Equipment Corporation; Northern Telecom, Inc.; and Splitrock Telecom Cooperative.
 Minnesota Supercomputer Center, Inc. is a for-profit corporation, founded in 1982, which provides advanced computing services to industrial, government and academic customers across the country. MSCI has operated 14 different supercomputing systems since its inception.
 -0- 06/22/92
 /CONTACT: Bob Williams of MSCI, 612-626-1560/ CO: Minnesota Supercomputer Center, Inc. ST: Minnesota IN: CPR SU:


DB -- MN003 -- 2318 06/22/92 10:57 EDT
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Date:Jun 22, 1992
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