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UI, NCSA joins Hewlett-Packard, others in computing consortium

Karen Green, NCSA Public Information
(217) 265-0748;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) on the Urbana-Champaign campus will join Hewlett-Packard Co. and five other leading research institutions in the Gelato Federation, a worldwide consortium focused on enabling open source Linux-based Intel® Itanium™ Processor Family computing solutions for academic, government and industrial research.

The formation of the Gelato Federation was announced today by HP. Gelato will work to develop scalable, commodity software to enable researchers to advance their studies in technology-intensive areas, such as life sciences and physical sciences.

Gelato is launching an open source community initiative designed to foster the development and dissemination of focused computing solutions for researchers and associated IT staffs working on the Itanium Linux platform. The federation will provide the research community with software downloads, including new solutions developed by Gelato member institutions and by other contributors from the greater open source community. Gelato also will supply information services – such as forums and technical data – to make the Itanium Linux platform more accessible to researchers and their support staffs.

In addition to HP, NCSA and the university, Gelato members include the BioInformatics Institute (Singapore), Groupe ESIEE (France), Tsinghua University (China), University of New South Wales (Australia), and the University of Waterloo (Canada). Each institution will provide financial backing, IT infrastructure and human resources to oversee and support Gelato’s mission and operations.

Representatives of these organizations bring expertise in biotechnology, grid computing, compilers and languages, Linux kernel performance, security, among other capabilities.

Membership in Gelato is open to all academic, government and corporate entities. New members are eligible to have representatives on Gelato’s governing strategy council. Gelato also plans to actively seek collaboration with other open source organizations and individual contributors.

NCSA and Groupe ESIEE will build and manage the Gelato Web Portal, which is expected to be operational in May. The portal will serve as a central meeting point for researchers who want to develop, execute and share their research in an open source, commodity computing environment. NCSA and UIUC will serve as the organization’s hub and will host the Gelato Federation lead, the primary individual who will facilitate operations and coordinate Gelato’s activities.

"The Linux IA-64 platform has enormous potential to help scientists achieve important breakthroughs that will improve the quality of our lives in the new century," said Dan Reed, director of NCSA. "Gelato will give scientists the support base they need to make the Linux IA-64 platform more robust and even more widely used. We are building a community of users and a virtual space where they can come together to share open source code, develop computing solutions, and address real-world problems."

Wen-mei Hwu, the Franklin Woeltge professor of electrical and computer engineering at Urbana-Champaign, and research professor of the university’s Coordinated Science Laboratory, said: "Gelato is a supported open-source platform that combines the strengths and features of the IMPACT compiler technology, scalable Linux kernel enhancements, standardized application programming interfaces, and Itanium Platform Family architecture. Together these powerful components promise to provide researchers worldwide with the ever-increasing levels of user-friendly computing power that they need for the new breakthroughs being achieved on an almost continuous basis."

The HP Executive Sponsor for Gelato is Rich DeMillo, HP vice president and chief technology officer. Along with DeMillo, representatives from HP’s Linux operations and HP Labs will provide Gelato with technical resources and support.

"The Gelato Federation is representative of HP’s effort to provide powerful Linux-based Itanium solutions for use by university and government researchers," said Martin Fink, general manager, HP Linux Systems Operation. "As a sponsor of Gelato, HP will work with federation members to bring superior scalable, open source computing solutions to the global research community."

Gelato will focus on open source technologies across all levels, including compilers and programming tools, Linux kernel performance, middleware services, security, software support for interconnects, and application-specific tools. Technical solutions will be optimized for the Itanium 64-bit architecture and for performance scalability, from single node processors to Linux clusters to grid computing.

The Gelato Federation endorses the major tenets of the open source movement, including a primary emphasis on the user; a commitment to developing high quality, 100 percent open source software; and a dedication to a non-bureaucratic, egalitarian, and collaborative working environment.

More information on Gelato and how to join can be found on its Web site at

Intel® Itanium™ Processor Family is a trademark of Intel Corp. in the United States and other countries and is used under license.