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Chautauquas Revive an American Forum for a New Era

CHAMPAIGN, IL -- The National Computational Science
Alliance (Alliance) will host three technology road
shows this summer designed to demonstrate to
researchers, educators and students how emerging
technologies and the developing National Technology Grid
will change the way people communicate, learn, and
conduct research and business in the 21st century.

The three events are scheduled for

        Aug. 9 and 10 at the University of New Mexico
        in Albuquerque (co-hosted by the University of Kansas),
        -> http://chautauqua.ahpcc.unm.edu/

        Aug. 23 and 24 at the University of Kentucky
        in Lexington, and
        -> http://www.ccs.uky.edu/~chautauqua

        Sept. 13 at 14 at Boston University.
        -> http://chautauqua.bu.edu/

They are being called Chautauquas, a Seneca Indian word
meaning meeting or gathering. The original Chautauqua
movement started in the late 19th century, when
traveling educational meetings were used to introduce
new concepts and cultural realities of the industrial
revolution to an increasingly diverse American
population.

Today the information revolution has created a similar
need to disseminate information about new technologies
and concepts. Alliance Chautauquas 99 are designed to
introduce new audiences to the National Technology Grid,
the prototype of the next century's information
infrastructure which is being developed by the Alliance,
and demonstrate how technological innovations can be
used on the Grid in ways that will impact science,
education, business and government.

"For the last two years the Alliance has been in the
business of developing and experimenting with a new
digital community, which five or 10 years down the road
will be the norm for everyone," said Larry Smarr,
director of the Alliance and the National Center for
Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the leading-edge site for
the Alliance. "The Chautauquas give us a chance to share
these developments with a wider group of university
researchers and educators. We hope that these meetings
will stimulate the growth of the nationwide digital
research community that will drive scientific research
and technology development in the 21st century."

Each Chautauqua site will serve as an access point to
the Grid, offering several presentations that will be
multicast from remote sites. The remote presentations
are part of the Alliance's comprehensive plan to deploy
sites as Grid access points and to coordinate research
and training activities at these sites with the new
Alliance Center for Collaboration, Education, Science
and Software (ACCESS) in Arlington, VA.

Each Chautauqua will target key groups located in
specific regions of the country. The University of New
Mexico Chautauqua will target Native American colleges,
researchers from government laboratories and regional
institutions that are part of the Experimental Program
to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), a National
Science Foundation program to stimulate research in
states that have traditionally received few research
dollars. The University of Kentucky will focus on EPSCoR
institutions as well as the Southeastern Universities
Research Association (SURA), a consortium of 41
universities in 13 southeastern states, and institutions
with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a
consortium of major Midwestern and Big 10 universities.
Boston University will also target regional EPSCoR and
CIC institutions, as well as other East Coast academic
institutions.

"The Chautauquas will highlight research and educational
initiatives specific to each region," said Frank
Gilfeather, director of the University of New Mexico's
Albuquerque High Performance Computing Center and team
lead of the Alliance's Partners for Advanced
Computational Services (PACS), which is sponsoring the
events. "But the Chautauquas will also be national in
scope because they will highlight the Alliance's vision
to link researchers with each other and with tools and
technologies via the National Technology Grid. "

Events at all three Chautauquas will focus on the
Alliance's three key initiatives, which are:

* capability computing, or computing "superjobs" that
  require dedicated use of supercomputing power;

* the evolution of networks into a ubiquitous Grid
  complete with software and middleware that allows people
  to interact in collaborative virtual spaces; and

* the emergence of a scientific common portal
  architecture, which will give researchers access to each
  other and all the tools they need for their work through
  simple mouse clicks.

Each Chautauqua will feature a keynote address from
Smarr and an address by an NSF representative. The
Chautauquas will also feature targeted tutorials and
events including a tutorial on scientific computing on a
Linux cluster and a seminar on high-performance
computing and the arts.