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University of Iowa News Release

May 25, 2005

Photo: Left, Shaowen Wang; Right, Yasar Onel

Researchers Get $115,000 Grid Computing/Cyberinfrastructure Grant

Two University of Iowa researchers recently received about $115,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Energy (DOE) for work in 2005 that may help link U.S. scientists to particle physics experiments in Europe and make the UI a powerhouse in data-intensive, scientific computing.

The two -- researchers at the UI College of Engineering Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology -- are: Yasar Onel, professor of physics and astronomy in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and project principal investigator, and Shaowen Wang, assistant research scientist in Academic Technologies -- Research Services of UI Information Technology Services and project co-principal investigator and technical director.

Onel and Wang are working in advance of the 2007 completion of the world's largest atom smasher, the $6 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC), at the CERN particle physics laboratory, located on the border between France and Switzerland. They are using the joint NSF/DOE research program of the U.S. Compact Muon Solenoid (USCMS) Collaboration to help integrate two of the world's largest computing grids into a single grid that will enable U.S. scientists to analyze LHC data from their homes and labs as well as link to the UI campus computer grid (HawkGrid) to LHC.

In addition, their work will prepare the UI team for the next round of Tier-2 competition -- a competition that could result in a grid computing center being located at the UI. Working in concert with about seven other U.S. universities and similar facilities around the world, the UI grid computing center would help handle the vast amounts of data expected to be generated by LHC.

Several years ago, the UI submitted a letter of intent to the USCMS Software and Computing Project to establish a Tier2 computing center in Iowa City. Since then, the UI CMS and ITS Academic Technologies -- Research Services groups have created a proof-of-concept Tier2 center, thanks to support received from the UI Office of the Vice President for Research, the Graduate College and the USCMS Software and Computing Project. UI researchers have used the center to participate in a variety of CMS grid computing projects, including the Open Science Grid that promises to become a major U.S. cyberinfrastructure supporting such data-intensive sciences as particle physics, bioinformatics and environmental sciences.

Onel says that the project, if successful, could result in a major grid computing center being located at the UI.

"We are part of several exciting and challenging national and international grid-based cyberinfrastructure projects; we try to apply what we learn from these project to our campus grid -- the HawkGrid -- so that the research and education on our campus could take advantage of evolving cyberinfrastructure capabilities," Wang says.

In related work, Onel and his colleagues are constructing particle detectors, funded with more than $5 million from the NSF and DOE, that will be used in the Large Hadron Collider.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 301, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,; Yasar Onel, project principal investigator, 319-335-1853,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,