In the heart of Cajun country, Louisiana state and municipal officials are completing the construction of a $27.5 million, supercomputer-powered 3-D visualization complex that they hope will become the nucleus of a new Silicon Valley.
Ok, so it’s a little over the top and bit hyperbolic. Still the story in FCW is great publicity for the state and Lafayette. National publicity for all your best toys is always welcome:
The Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE), which could be operational by late April or early May, would immediately support research and development activities for independent oil and gas companies that don”t have the expertise or investment dollars for such immersive technologies….
There’s a fairly detailed description of the netw LITE center for the curious. Unfortunately there’s no picture of the futuristic building that’s currently being finished.
If researchers need more computing capacity than the facility can provide, officials said, the center can draw aggregate supercomputing power statewide through a 60-gigabits/sec connection to the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative. It is a $40 million statewide fiber-optic network that links mainframe computers at the state’s major research universities.
The statewide network also connects to the National LambdaRail, a transcontinental optical Ethernet and IP networking infrastructure built on more than 10,000 miles of fiber-optic cable. National LambdaRail is designed for national-scale research and experimentation in networking technologies and applications….
Gothreaux said the project was conceived three years ago to help Lafayette, located in south central Louisiana, diversify its economy. The city has a relatively low unemployment rate, and the community voted last year to spend $125 million to bring fiber optics to every home. “We were looking for an economy-changing–even, to a certain extent, a society-changing–science,” Gothreaux said.
Update: A recent email delivers a blast from the past on grid computing. Does anyone recall the Acadiana Virtual Supercomputer project? The upcoming Zydetec public forum on grid computing should be really interesting for those with the taste for a little productive dreaming. (Here’s a dream: a distributed computing network built on the back of Lafayette’s 100 megs of internal bandwidth could power an extremely cheap, easy way to make the hugely compute intenstive elements of digital special effects and various levels of cartooning possible as a cottage industry. Currently those activities are forced by limited bandwidth to put the artists involved in a cubicle farm perched on top of a fast LAN full of servers. In Lafayette contract workers or cottage industries could sit out on the fast local network and pull on distributed computing network. We’ve already got creative video development going on at the University, Carencro High, and Game Camp. Those folks don’t necessarily have to go away to put their talents and traing to use if we can get something like that going.
(You can peek at an earlier version of the Lafayette video gaming distributed network if you find the idea intriguing.)