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New Link To Supercomputer Opens 3-D Imaging To University

SOCORRO, N.M. January 27, 2010 – New Mexico Tech is now the home of a new 3-D stereoscopic imaging portal that could revolutionize how researchers approach modeling.

The new “Gateway” will interface with the Encanto supercomputer at Intel in Rio Rancho and the Exemplar mini-supercomputer at Tech. The new system will allow students, faculty and outside companies to develop fully 3-D images, models and visualizations.

New Mexico Tech professors and administrators wear  3-D glasses to view a demonstration of the new hardware and software systems Monday in Speare Hall.

 

Dr. Lorie Liebrock, department chair for Computer Science and Engineering, said the new cutting edge hardware and software has applications in academia, research and economic development. Faculty members and students will have access to the new modeling techniques. Businesses will also be able reserve time on the supercomputer, on the visualization system or on the teleconferencing system.

About 30 professors, students and administrators attended the demonstration at Tech on Monday. Dr. Mike Topliff, director of the Tech Computer Center, answered a few technical questions from faculty members, largely related to software and access.

Bryan Hughes, the Unix system administrator for the TCC, said the new system is ready and standing by for video conferencing needs. Professors and students interested in utilizing the 3-D stereoscopic features need to work with a program that is compatible with Nvidia GeForce 3-D Vision System.

Faculty members can reserve the system for class sessions by calling the Registrar. Any faculty member interested in learning more about the new technology can call Topliff at 5735 or Liebrock at 6729.

Gov. Bill Richardson spearheaded Monday’s launch of eight “gateway” sites. Users can access the supercomputer, dubbed “Encanto,” for research, educational activities, training and business modeling in the areas of energy, environment, digital film and biotechnology, said Richardson in a news release.

“The opening of these supercomputer gateways is significant to New Mexico’s economic and high-tech future,” Richardson said. “We’re bringing the highest level of supercomputing to every corner of the state, giving New Mexicans the opportunity to tap in to its remarkable educational and economic possibilities.”

Operated by the New Mexico Computing Applications Center, Encanto is one of the fastest, most powerful supercomputers in the nation, capable of performing 172 trillion calculations per second. Of the public supercomputers, Encanto is the fastest in the nation.

“Now New Mexicans will have the ability to tap into this tremendous power and build growth,” Gov. Bill Richardson said. “We’re connecting New Mexico in a way that will work to grow a high-tech and high-wage economy that is needed for our workforce, and all of this is aimed at creating high wage jobs in the state.”

The eight gateways are based at the State Capitol and at universities and colleges around the state, including New Mexico Tech. In the coming months, 25 more gateways will be launched at more universities and colleges statewide, including branch campuses from the larger institutions.

At Monday’s launch event, Richardson met “virtually” with university and college heads from the gateway sites, using the gateways’ teleconferencing capabilities.

After a brief greeting from the Governor, participants donned 3-D glasses to view a demonstration of the new system’s visualization capabilities. The University of New Mexico ARTS Lab presented a brief 3-D movie that explained some of the research areas that will benefit, including medicine, astrophysics, genetics, the film industry and engineering.

Richardson said he hopes New Mexico scientists working on developing the Smart Grid and the Green Grid can utilize the imaging and modeling technology to improve delivery of electricity and maximize use of alternative energy.

Jami Grindatto of Intel said the gateways will allow the supercomputer to be more accessible to several key education initiatives, including Math Engineering Science Applications, or MESA, the Supercomputing Challenge and Growing Up Thinking Scientifically, or GUTS.

The eight initial sites connected to the New Mexico Computing Applications Center are the State Capitol, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Tech, New Mexico State University, San Juan College, Santa Fe Community College, University of New Mexico and Western New Mexico University.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech