A new computational institute is being formed the aim of mining' big data' and addressing challenges ranging from climate change to energy management.
The Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing, to be based in Seattle, is being formed by the University of Washington (UW) and the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNLL) in Richland, Washington.
Researchers associated with the institute will collaborate to explore advanced computer system designs, accelerate data-driven scientific discovery and improve computational modeling and simulation to ensure the next generation of computers and the methods used to run them can address challenges ranging from climate change to energy management.. Scientists and engineers at the institute will also train future researchers in modern computational approaches.
According to Doug Ray, associate director of PNNL.
"Computing has transformed science, engineering and society in remarkable ways, but as huge amounts of new data are generated daily by scientific instruments and household electronics, new technologies and approaches are needed to give that information more meaning."
The institute's research will aim to help solve a wide variety of the world's growing problems. For example, improved computational techniques can help design a smart electric grid that reliably delivers energy to keep homes warm and lit. Better analysis of biological data can help determine the causes of disease and how to treat health ailments.
Computer modeling can help explain how climate change impacts natural resources such as snow packs and the formation of greenhouse gas-capturing molecules in the atmosphere. And smartphone data can be used to improve urban life, such as decreasing idle traffic while also reducing carbon emissions from cars.
UW’s Ed Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science elaborated:
“The new center is fundamentally about methodology. 'Big data’ is transforming the process of discovery in all fields. UW and PNNL have significant and complementary strengths; together we’ll be able to do amazing things.”
The institute, which will be headquartered in the UW’s Seig Hall, will be led by UW electrical engineering chair and Applied Computational Engineering Lab director Vikram Jandhyala and PNNL fellow Moe Khaleel, who directs PNNL’s Computational Science and Mathematics research division.
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