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Computing pioneer honored at Big Red II dedication

Computing pioneer and renowned computer scientist Paul Messina received high honors, as Indiana University president Michael McRobbie presented him with the distinguished Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion. "Paul Messina, Indiana University salutes you. Throughout your distinguished career, your work helped lay the foundation for grid and cloud computing, and helped bring parallel computing technology to the forefront of scientific computing," said McRobbie.

Paul Messina. Image courtesy Amber Harmon.

Messina, director of science at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, US, and others participated in events leading up to the dedication and launch of Indiana University's Big Red II, the fastest university-owned supercomputer in the nation. Messina stressed just how important a university machine is and "the tremendous opportunity faculty, staff, and students have in gaining access to this wonderful resource."

Echoing Messina, Indiana University vice president for Information Technology and CIO Brad Wheeler spoke of the necessity of cyberinfrastructure for continued research, discovery, and growth of a knowledge economy. "For nearly 15 years, IU has not wavered in providing support for both basic and advanced collaboration technologies, data storage and management services, and high performance computing and computation. We pool our resources and provide far greater tools for all of our researchers, in all disciplines, on all campuses," Wheeler said.

"IU is the first in the world to have its own one petaFLOPS supercomputer as a dedicated university resource," noted Craig Stewart, Indiana University associate dean of research technologies and executive director of the Pervasive Technology Institute. "Big Red II will be used by IU, for IU, to support activities in the arts, humanities, and sciences - and to support the economic development of Indiana, without constraints from an outside funding agency."

Thanks to the contributions of visionaries like Messina and the capabilities of the latest generation of supercomputers, researchers are accelerating breakthroughs in fields as diverse as genome analysis and climate change.

To learn more about Big Red II and supercomputing at Indiana University, visit

- Amber Harmon

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