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Virginia Bioinformatics Institute to develop petascale computer modeling capabilities
Date:7/6/2009

Blacksburg, Va. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a four-year, $1,450,000 grant to the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory (NDSSL) at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech and partners to develop petascale computing environments that model billions of individuals in extremely large social and information networks.

The anticipated arrival of high-performance computers that routinely perform one quadrillion (one million billion) operations per second means that complex studies of global populations at the level of the individual can realistically be simulated on distributed computer networks. The goal of the proposal "Coupled Models of Diffusion and Individual Behavior Over Extremely Large Social Networks" is to use new computer technology breakthroughs to study events like disease pandemics, financial crises, as well as the spread of opinions, attitudes or social beliefs, through populations on a global scale. Current state-of-the-art agent-based computer models can simulate the spread of a disease like influenza through a population the size of the United States. Petascale modeling would make comparable agent-based studies of disease transmission possible for global populations.

The NDSSL will work with partners at the Brookings Institution, Indiana University, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to develop models and algorithms that support the work of researchers, policy- and decision-makers who want to examine and probe individual and group behaviors in these extremely large global social networks.

Madhav Marathe, Deputy Director of the NDSSL and Professor in the Department of Computer Sciences at Virginia Tech and Principal Investigator on the proposal, remarked: "Underpinning this project is a desire to create some of the next-generation computational tools and environments that will be needed to enable future research by social, biol
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Contact: Barry Whyte
whyte@vbi.vt.edu
540-231-1767
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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