Microsoft Research Increases Support for NCSA Symbio Software

Microsoft Research Increases Support for NCSA Symbio Software

CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Feb. 18, 1998 — The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign today announced that Microsoft Corp. has tripled its support of Symbio
, a cluster computing application under development at the center.

NCSA received $150,000 in cash and $50,000 in software licenses, documentation and technical support. Last year, NCSA used a $50,000 cash grant from Microsoft to begin development of the Symbio distributed computing and application development environment.

“We are excited to be a supporter of NCSA’s research,” said Jim Gray, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research. “The Microsoft award continues our participation in the worldwide research community. Symbio takes advantage of Microsoft’s Distributed Component Object Model, making it easy to build and run parallel and distributed applications. NCSA is taking a true leadership position in the movement to use commodity hardware and software for large-scale scientific problems.”

Larry Smarr, director of NCSA and the National Computational Science Alliance, said the support from Microsoft will help bring new tools to the national user community, creating new ways for scientists to conduct their research.

“Symbio supports applications that execute massive computations,” Smarr said. “Symbio and tools like it give scientists a new realm of options. We are enthusiastic about working with

Microsoft to bring such an important tool to our research partners in the Alliance and to the national user community.”

Symbio runs the applications by monitoring the activity on networked computers and making use of unused cycles in idle machines. Symbio runs on the Microsoft® Windows NT® operating system, a platform that many institutions have already invested in.

“Symbio is an application of the Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) to define, manage and interact with parallel jobs running in a cluster,” said Briand Sanderson, an NCSA researcher and Symbio technical program manager.

Symbio is expected to play a major role in the construction of the National Technology Grid, a prototype of 21st century communication and computational infrastructure being developed by the alliance. The grid will integrate high-performance computers, visualization environments and other computational science resources across the nation to form the most powerful problem-solving environments ever created.

The first public release of Symbio is expected this spring. Symbio is currently in beta testing at several sites. Further information and a developer preview are available at

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is the leading-edge site for the National Computational Science Alliance. NCSA is a leader in the development and deployment of cutting-edge high-performance computing, networking and information technologies. The state of Illinois, the University of Illinois, industrial partners, the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies fund NCSA.

The National Computational Science Alliance is a partnership to prototype an advanced computational infrastructure for the 21st Century and includes more than 50 academic, government and industry research partners from across the United States. The alliance receives core funding from the National Science Foundation and cost-sharing at partner institutions.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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