Press Releases

November 22, 1999

SC99 Honors Top Achievements in Computing and Technology --Portland conference one of the most successful ever

PORTLAND, OR, November 22, 1999 - SC99, the conference of high performance networking and computing, concluded one of the most successful sessions in the 12-year history of the conference by honoring the achievements and contributions of the nation's top computing technology experts.

The 1999 Sidney Fernbach Award, established by the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society in 1992, was presented to Michael L. Norman for his "leading edge research in applying parallel computing to grand challenge problems in astrophysics and cosmology." Norman is a computational astrophysicist who has been a professor of astronomy and director of the Laboratory for Computational Astrophysics at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, since 1992.

The 1999 Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award was given to John Cocke "for unique and creative contributions to the computer industry through innovative high-performance design systems." Cocke joined the IBM Research Division in 1956 and has been a key figure in some of the nation's most advanced technological developments, including his pivotal contributions to the development of Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) technology, for which he was awarded the National Medal of Technology and the National Medal of Science.

The Computing Research Association Distinguished Service Award was presented to Ken Kennedy, the Ann and John Doerr Professor of Computational Engineering and director of the Center for Research on Parallel Computation of Rice University, and Bill Joy, founder and Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems, for their service as co-chairs of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee. In their report issued in February 1999, the committee recommended that the federal government should invest more in "long-term, high-risk research" programs, and says that short-term, applied-research approaches have superceded the fundamental research strategies that led to the major breakthroughs resulting in our current information technology boom.

The conference also awarded the Gordon Bell Prize to four research teams, which achieved the highest performance levels on supercomputers.

Winners in the category for best overall performance was a team from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and IBM for a "very high resolution simulation of compressible turbulence" developed under the auspices of the Advanced Strategic Computing Initiative. The code ran for nearly a week on 3,840 processors of an IBM system at a speed of 600 gigaflops (600 billion calculations per second).

The winner in the price-to-performance category was a team from Tokyo University, which performed an astrophysical simulation on a special purpose, 32-processor system with a performance level of 5.92 gigaflops. The total cost of the system was $40,900 with a ratio of $7 per megaflops (million calculations per second).

Special awards were given to the finalists in each of the two categories as well. Henry Tufo of the University of Chicago and Paul Fischer of Argonne National Laboratory were recognized for their achievement of 319 gigaflops running a multimillion gridpoint simulation of incompressible flows on 2,048 processors. Also recognized in the price-to-performance category was a team from NASA and several U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories for achieving a sustained floating point rate of 76 gigaflops running an unstructured mesh compressible fluid dynamics simulation.

SC99 attracted a near-record 5,100 participants, including 1,972 who paid to attend three days of technical presentations. For those who couldn't attend, but wanted to see what all the excitement was about, aWeb-accessible camera was installed on the exhibition floor - and more than 34,580 people outside the Oregon Convention Center logged on to the camera.

SC2000 will be held Nov. 4-10, 2000, in Dallas. The conferences are sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery.