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March 26, 2008


SGI Supercomputer-Based Facility Could Provide Solutions to Metropolitan Area’s Transportation and Congestion Woes

NEW YORK, March 26, 2008 – The Universal Transportation Model Simulation Center (UTMSC) at The City College of New York (CCNY), which will run real-time model simulations and analyze and offer solutions for transportation problems in the New York metropolitan area, commenced operations today. Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams inaugurated the facility, the latest in intelligent transportation systems.

Borough President Stringer said the Center, housed on the sixth floor of City College’s Marshak Science Building, would help solve the problems plaguing transportation in the City. “Decades of failure to plan for the efficient transport of goods have left us with broken roads and bridges and streets that can’t safely be navigated by pedestrians, cyclists or cars, and air clouded with tons of particulate matter that is dangerous to breathe,” he noted. “CUNY’s new simulation center will give us greatly needed information we can use to plan our way out of this mess.”

“The City College is indebted to the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) and to our other partners in this endeavor for bringing this Center to fruition,” said President Williams. “Thanks to this collaboration we now have a much needed and operational hi-tech resource that will prove invaluable in analyzing road traffic and offering solutions to challenges in the nation’s busiest commuter hub.”

“The transportation and traffic simulation performed by UTMSC requires a platform, that allows multiple users to run large-scale transportation models simultaneously,” said Doug Britt, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at SGI. “The 40 core SGI Altix 4700 platform provides the low latency, scalability and expansive shared memory needed for such data-intensive applications.”

Dr. Neville A. Parker, Herbert Kayser Professor of Civil Engineering at CCNY and Director of the CUNY Institute for Transportation Systems (CUNY ITS), will direct the UTMSC. Dr. Kyriacos Mouskos, Research Professor at CUNY ITS, will oversee the operations of the UTMSC lab. He will also serve as liaison to the Center’s partners, including the Vista Transport Group and agencies in foreign countries. 

Powered by an SGI® Altix 4700 supercomputer custom produced by Silicon Graphics, Inc. of Sunnyvale,Calif., the UTMSC has the capacity to run large-scale transportation simulations. The Center will establish a set of test beds in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area that will be used to run various models. These include Dynamic Traffic Assignment models, transportation planning models, microscopic traffic simulators, signal optimization models and network flow models, either for real-time or off-line studies. 

The “signature” test bed for its operations will assess and mitigate the noise and air pollution burdens experienced by East Harlem. However, the UTMSC will analyze and address efficiency and security issues arising across the New York metropolitan area.

The region has one third of the nation’s transit commuters. According to Professor Parker, more than 67 million trucks annually cross toll facilities administered by its various transportation agencies. 

“CCNY-CUNY is the ideal entity to establish this center because this initiative will involve a number of entities that rarely work closely together, but which all maintain close relationships through research and other projects with CCNY-CUNY,” said Professor Parker.

The facility will be used by a broad spectrum of institutions and agencies. Among these are state and city engineers, emergency and security agencies within the metropolitan area, trucking companies and freight forwarders. Planning agencies at all levels, CCNY students and other colleges and universities will also have access to the UTMSC. 

Creation of the UTMSC was made possible by a $500,000 contribution from the Manhattan Borough President’s Office during fiscal year 2006.  In addition, CCNY provided a $200,000 grant for the UTMSC lab, site renovation and operational start-up. The Vista Transport Group provided a further contribution of $160,000 in DTA computer software – Visual Interactive System for Transportation Algorithms (VISTA) – and other software support.

About The SGI® Altix® 4700 Supercomputer

The SGI® Altix® 4700 combines industry-standard components and the world’s most powerful server architecture in a highly dense and deployable blade-based form factor. With Altix, SGI [NASDAQ: SGIC] integrated its renowned scalable shared-memory SGI® NUMAflex® architecture with blade packaging to create the first 64-bit Linux® OS-based server with a blade design that offers true “plug and solve” flexibility. The Altix 4700 supports up to 512 sockets or 1,024 cores under one instance of Linux and as much as 128TB of globally shared memory. Leveraging these powerful capabilities is the NUMAlink interconnect, which leads the industry in bandwidth and latency for superior performance on cluster applications. The SGI Altix 4700 represents a versatile solution for shared or distributed memory applications of any scale.

About The City College of New York

For more than 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 14,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA); The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering, and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit www.ccny.cuny.edu.

UTMSC Contact:

Professor Neville A. Parker, 212-650-8054, parker@utrc2.org.

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