NIAC to Tackle Big Data

New lab will work on problems of cybersecurity and other computing issues, as well as addressing future challenges in the next generation of computers.

The University of Washington (UW) and the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are forming the Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing (NIAC) to address issues of big data, cybersecurity, and other computing challenges.

The institute, which will be located on UW’s campus, will allow researchers to jointly explore “advanced computer system designs, accelerate data-driven scientific discovery, and improve computational modeling and simulation.” According to the announcement, NIAC researchers will also work to ensure that the next generation of computers and computing methods will be capable of addressing future challenges.

“This will be an interdisciplinary place for UW faculty in computer science, electrical engineering and applied math to work with PNNL colleagues on areas such as computational physics, big data, cyber security and computing for the smart grid,” said Moe Khaleel, who directs PNNL’s Computational Science and Mathematics research division, and who will serve as co-director of NIAC along with UW electrical engineering chair and Applied Computational Engineering Lab Director Vikram Jandhyala.

NIAC members will have access to computational resources at both institutions – including the UW’s Hyak supercomputer and PNNL’s 162-teraflop Olympus supercomputer. According to the announcement, researchers also plan to make extensive use of cloud resources, and initial projects will include algorithms and software for large graph analyses, smart grid simulation, and encryption for cloud computing.