NASA/CIPA Cluster Computing Project
The Cluster Computing Project (2001-2004)
The Department recently finished work on a Curriculum Improvement Partnership Award (CIPA) from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The project, entitled "Computer Clusters for Curricular Improvements in Computer Networking and Parallel/Distributed Computing," became known simply as the "Cluster Computing Project." Professor Douglas Salane was the principal investigator.
The NASA project provided resources to develop the Department's undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of computer networking and parallel/distributed computing. NASA is interested in these areas because they are vital to the agency initiatives in advanced computing, networking and storage systems (ACNS). Thanks to the Cluster Computing Project, students in upper level CIS courses now benefit from NASA and other federally funded computing research projects such as the Information Power Grid (IPG),Message Passing Interface (MPI), Netpipe, Parallel Virtual File System (PVS), Scalable Linear Algebra Package (ScaLAPACK). The project provided the facilties needed for research and coursework involving the FBI's National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS),a key criminal juStice database. Morover, the project has helped the Department develop the expertise and facilities needed to solve compute- and data-intensive problems.
The Cluster Computing Project had three major objectives: facilities, curriculum and faculty development. The Project helped fund the building of computer labs and cluster computers to support course work and research in computer networking, parallel programming, distributed database systems and high performance computing. Under the project, the Department revised CIS courses and requirements to prepare students for work in computer networking and parallel/distributed computing. The Project sponsored seminars and other events that helped faculty, staff and students keep up with the latest developments in cluster and high performance computing.
Facilities developed under the Cluster Computing Project include the Distributed Computing Laboratory, the John Jay Computational Cluster and the Database Computer Cluster. In addition, a network infrastructure, referred to as the CIPA Network Infrastructure, makes Cluster Computing resources available to students on or off campus. Students are using Cluster Computing facilities to learn how to develop information systems that provide high availability and high throughput. The computational cluster provides a laboratory environment for instruction in parallel computing as well as student and faculty research in high performance computing.
Current and Future Projects
The NASA Cluster Computing Project provided new institutional expertise and capabilities in newtorking, high performance computing and high performance data systems. Project facilities are currently used for studies in computer security, forensic computing and modeling smoke and fire propagation in buildings. Project data systems now host a relational database implmentation of FBI's (NIBRS) data. The Department plans to upgrade its cluster and data systems to support research projects in computer/network security, data mining and criminal justice data systems and forensic science.