About the Joint Laboratory

The Joint Laboratory for Petascale Computing focuses on software challenges found in complex high-performance computers. The Joint Laboratory is based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and includes researchers from the French national computer science institute called INRIA, Illinois' Center for Extreme-Scale Computation, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Much of the Joint Laboratory's work will focus on algorithms and software that will run on Blue Waters and other petascale computers. Illinois' Blue Waters is expected to be the most powerful supercomputer available for open scientific research when it comes online in 2011. Petascale computers are those that are capable of sustaining more than one quadrillion calculations per second. Software developed for Blue Waters is also expected to run efficiently on other large-scale parallel computers.

Early focus areas will include:

  • Modeling and optimizing numerical libraries, which are at the heart of many scientific applications.
  • Fault-tolerance research, which reduces the negative impact when processors, disk drives, or memory fail in supercomputers that have tens or hundreds of thousands of those components.
  • Novel programming models, which allow scientific applications to be updated or reimagined to take full advantage of extreme-scale supercomputers.

The Joint Laboratory for Petascale Computing is led by INRIA's Franck Cappello and Illinois' Marc Snir.


INRIA, the French national institute for research in computer science and control, is dedicated to fundamental and applied research in information and communication science and technology. The Institute also plays a major role in technology transfer by fostering training through research, diffusion of scientific and technical information, development, as well as providing expert advice and participating in international programs.

About Center for Extreme-scale Computation

The Center for Extreme-scale Computing is part of the University of Illinois' Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies. CESC focuses on the development of applications and technologies that will help scientists and engineers realize the full potential of future supercomputers. Researcher areas include the use of accelerators like GPUs in scientific computing, the study of new multiscale simulation techniques, and the development of new parallel programming methods and scientific applications.

About NCSA

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, provides powerful computers and expert support that help thousands of scientists and engineers across the country better understand our world. For more than 20 years, NCSA has been a leader in deploying robust high-performance computing resources and in working with research communities to develop new computing and software technologies. Building on this history of leadership, NCSA and its partners are at work on the Blue Waters project, which will provide the national research community with a sustained-petaflop supercomputer.

The Joint Laboratory for Petascale Computing includes researchers from the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Center for Extreme-Scale Computation, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. The Joint Lab is part of Parallel@Illinois.