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The Good, the Bad and the ­gly: Reflections on the Nsf Supercomputer Center Program

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CALIT2 Director Larry Smarr

CALIT2 Director Larry Smarr

Credit: CALIT2

In a position paper for community input at NSF's Future of High Performance Computing Workshop in early December, Calit2 Director Larry Smarr reviewed the successes, failures, and continuing challenges of the NSF supercomputing program he helped create.

In 1983, Smarr (then at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) was the first to propose what would later become known as the NSF Supercomputer Centers program, followed shortly by a proposal from UCSD's Sid Karin. The two went on to become the founding directors of the first two NSF supercomputer centers—Larry Smarr, of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at UIUC; and Sid Karin of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego.

For the past 10 years, Smarr has been the founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at UC San Diego, and in that capacity he has worked very closely with SDSC.

Smarr's position paper submitted to the NSF HPC Workshop is both an assessment of past achievements and an outline of some of the challenges facing the NSF supercomputing program that he was instrumental in developing.

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