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Sharing computing with Japan

CC BY-NC 2.0 Ryan Roberts.

We've already discussed some of the ways in which advanced computing has helped with disaster relief in the wake of the damage caused by the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan.

But after disaster relief efforts are no longer necessary, Japan faces a substantial decrease in power generating capabilities. The result is that their use of computing will be severely limited.

The good news is that science is a collaborative field, and many scientists have collaborators in other countries who can help them out. Even those who don't may be able to proceed with their research, thanks to offers from various cyberinfrastructure organizations we'd like to spotlight this week:

  • The US Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics community recently announced that from now until the end of 2011, while computing facilities in northern Japan face continuing electricity shortages, a percentage of the computing power at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago, and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia will be made available to the Japanese Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics community.
  • The Keeneland Project at Georgia Tech (GT) has collaborated closely with Tokyo Tech over the past two years on developing innovative computer architectures and software that use graphic processors. Georgia Tech's Keeneland Initial Delivery system's combination of architecture and software is nearly identical to Tokyo Tech's TSUBAME2.0. Currently in preproduction mode, the Keeneland team is working with a select group of Keeneland early adopters to develop programming tools and libraries for applications on GPUs. As a result of the disaster, Keeneland team is exploring ways to provide cycles and storage from Keeneland to our colleagues at Tokyo Tech; Japanese researchers will be able to continue their important work during summer, when the demand for power will exceed the available supply, and, consequently, lead to the temporary shutdown of TSUBAME2.0.
  • San Diego Supercomputer Center is providing cycles and storage on its Triton and Data Oasis resources to colleagues from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Tokyo Institute of Technology. These resources have enabled researchers to continue their Global Earth Observation Grid activities, including generation of ground motion maps and analyzing satellite data related to the disaster (some results at were generated with Triton).

Other organizations are open to requests for assistance from the Japanese community.

"Japanese researchers that are part of an international collaboration are already able to make full use of the European Grid Infrastructure and sites outside Japan - this is one of the advantages of a distributed infrastructure," said Catherine Gater, deputy director of "If a Japanese Virtual Organization that is not part of an international collaboration already would also like to access the grid, this would be easy enough to enable and we would be happy to receive any requests to do so."

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