NCSA: National Computational Science Alliance

October 1st, 1997 - September 30th, 2005

Categories: Applications, Education, Software, Supercomputing, Tele-Immersion, User Groups, Visualization


After 10 years, the NSF Supercomputer Centers Program was replaced with the NSF Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) program. On October 1, 1997, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) became the leading edge site for the National Computational Science Alliance (Alliance), one of two partnerships in the new PACI program. The Alliance partnership of more than 50 academic partners from across the nation is building a prototype of the country’s next-generation information and computational infrastructure, the PACI Grid, to enable scientific discovery and increasingly complex engineering design. The Grid is creating a powerful, seamless, integrated computational problem-solving environment for collaborative, multidisciplinary work on a national scale. NCSA leads the Alliance in its mission to maintain American preeminence in science and technology.

The Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) is part of the Alliance’s “Data and Collaboration” group, which is one of three “Enabling Technology” (ET) teams, who work with other Alliance teams in an effort to realize the vision of a PACI Grid that is an integrated set of parallel and distributed computing, data management, and collaboration tools. The team’s initiatives have included object technologies, end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS), visual supercomputing, collaborative technologies, high-performance distributed data management, and scalable clustered systems.

The research emphasis for EVL is on enhancing collaboration - specifically, high-modality, immersive data exploration and collaboration so that researchers can manipulate and explore data simultaneously via VR environments. Powerful tools such as Virtual Director are enabling researchers to steer, edit, and record their navigation through a large dataset. The continued development of tools and techniques to enhance visualization through collaborative virtual reality are integral to EVL’s overall research goals and contribution to the Alliance.