For Immediate Release
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October 23, 2001
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IU Awarded Large Grant to Create Innovative New Computing Facility

Indiana University today (Oct. 26) announced that IU has received a $1.8M grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a new and innovative facility called AVIDD for processing data generated by large scientific instruments. It will be a major new tool for teaching and research. 

AVIDD will initially be distributed across three IU campuses - Gary (IU Northwest), Bloomington (IUB) and Indianapolis (IUPUI) and will be integrated with very high network bandwidth using the University's new Optical Fiber Infrastructure.

AVIDD will provide an integrated and coherent way of managing, analyzing and visualizing the vast amounts of data generated by the new generations of large scientific instruments used by IU faculty, scientists, researchers and students on their campuses and in collaboration with researchers worldwide. 

Funded out of the NSF's Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program, AVIDD will comprise a new experimental supercomputer, massive amounts of disk storage and multiple visualization devices. This new experimental supercomputer will strongly complement the new production supercomputer announced by IU and IBM last week and is about half the power of that system.

"This major grant adds yet another significant element to the University's world-class information technology infrastructure which has been built to support teaching and expand research capabilities across all IU campuses" said President Myles Brand. "AVIDD will not only provide new and local research resources for our faculty, but at our IU Northwest campus it will also enable us to offer our students a broader selection of classes in the sciences and mathematics" Brand said. 

AVIDD is designed to support the full "data life cycle" for information generated by research and scientific instruments particularly in the data-intensive sciences such as biology, chemistry, computing, anthropology and geology. This lifecycle includes data capture, transfer, real time analysis and processing, storage both locally and remotely, and retrieval. In addition, the AVIDD facility will include visualization and data presentation environments which will support high quality 3D visualization, collaborative research, and distance education.

IU Northwest Chancellor Bruce Bergland is particularly enthusiastic about the educational aspect of the grant, more specifically the 8'x6' visualization display wall that will be installed on campus as part of AVIDD for teaching and distributed education. "The ability to offer a broader array of classes in scientific computing, mathematics and the sciences means that our students will feel more confident and be better prepared to pursue further education and careers in these fields" said Bergland. "The IU Northwest student body includes a high percentage of students from traditionally under-represented groups and we want not only to prepare, but encourage these students to become members of the scientific computing community where so many key advances in science are made" he added. 

"I am pleased to see that Indiana University will receive National Science Foundation funding to support research and student training across a broad range of instrument-driven and data-intensive science areas," said US Congressman Peter J. Visclosky. "This funding, more importantly now than ever, is a sound investment in the area of research and development, which will lead to better products and services that improve the quality of life and stimulate economic growth" Visclosky remarked.

"With its MRI program, NSF helps universities across the U.S. to upgrade important facilities for research and education," said George Strawn, NSF assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE).  "This award to Indiana University is a prime example of Cyber-Infrastructure, one purpose of which is to provide real-time access to scientific instrumentation across the Internet, along with tools to manage the massive amounts of data generated by such devices."

Michael A. McRobbie, IU Vice President for Information Technology and the principal investigator for the AVIDD grant said, "Following closely on the heels of IU's acquisition of the nation's largest university-owned production supercomputer, this grant will enable the establishment of an experimental facility that will leverage and complement IU's other facilities in massive data storage and networking facilities while providing a new capability principally for to data-intensive science." 


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