Icons Highlight Functions of Ohio Supercomputer Center

Re-branding effort reflects Center’s growing roles, audiences

COLUMBUS, Ohio – June 27, 2007 -- As the Ohio Supercomputer Center prepares to enter its third decade of operation this summer, its employees have begun using a set of four blue blocks to define the center for an ever-widening set of audiences.

The small but nationally recognized center, located off Kinnear Road on the west campus of The Ohio State University, this week unveils a new corporate logo and branding guidelines. The logo features the full name of the organization and four blue blocks, each containing a white icon representing one of four distinct functions carried out within the organization: supercomputing, networking, research and education.

“We wanted a symbol that is more illustrative of the work we do here,” said Stanley C. Ahalt, executive director of the center. “The use of the full name – Ohio Supercomputer Center – quickly gives the public a much better idea of the nature of our work than just the acronym OSC, which we have used previously.

“Also, the four functions graphically represented in the logo are aligned with and reinforce the center’s strategic plan. This allows staff, customers, vendors and partner organizations to more easily conceptualize how each project we work on fits into the organization’s framework.”

Created in 1987 by the Ohio Board of Regents, the Ohio Supercomputer Center provides a reliable, high-performance computing and networking infrastructure for Ohio education, research, industry and state government. The center promotes and stimulates computational research and education, acting as a key enabler for the state’s aspirations in advanced technology information systems and advanced industries.

“In re-branding our organization, we took into account that the center today is filling a much broader role as a catalyst for research and innovation across Ohio,” Ahalt explained. “It is important that we represent the center in a way that is absolutely clear and understandable for individuals across the many diverse groups with which we now collaborate.”

In addition to an inventory of supercomputers that has continuously evolved with the rapid advance of technology over the last two decades, much else has changed at the center. A unification of OSC and the Ohio Academic Resource Network (OARnet), which linked Ohio’s colleges and universities with a telecommunications network, resulted in the development of the networking arm of the center, now known as OSCnet. Also, the center created a robust research division, where scientists use the resources of the Ohio Supercomputer Center to conduct investigations into fields such as life sciences and homeland security.

A renewed focus on service to industry and job creation has resulted in initiatives such as Blue Collar Computing and the Ralph Regula School of Computational Science. Blue Collar Computing is an effort to supply supercomputing to small- and medium-sized industries that do not have the time, capital or expertise to invest in such specialized resources. The Ralph Regula School is a collaborative initiative of the center with several colleges and universities to instruct students in advanced computer modeling and simulation, which industries use to solve complex business, technical and academic research problems.

And, in 2004, the Ohio Supercomputer Center launched OSCnet (formerly the Third Frontier Network), the nation’s most advanced fiber-optic network dedicated to education, health care and economic development. OSCnet provides connectivity and computing resources to K-12 education, colleges and universities, hospitals, public broadcasting stations and local, state and federal research centers in the state.

“In years past, the Center was represented by a single logo, but we also had developed separate branding for multiple projects at the Center,” said Ian MacConnell, OSC creative director. “Now, those projects will be paired with the appropriate functional icon and clearly reinforce the organization’s logo with our audiences, rather than present competing or conflicting messages.

“In developing the new design, we surveyed staff members, user groups and other individuals not familiar with the Ohio Supercomputer Center to get a clear picture of how people perceive the organization. This study started us through an intensive process that resulted in four icons: an array of microprocessors representing computing resources and support (supercomputing), a map of Ohio depicting the state’s broadband network (networking), a glowing light bulb recalling Thomas Edison and Ohio’s legacy of innovation (research) and the image of a student using distance learning to gain skills or earn a degree (education).”

Celebrating 20 years of service, the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries that provides a reliable high performance computing and high performance networking infrastructure for a diverse statewide/regional community including education, academic research, industry, and state government. Funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, OSC promotes and stimulates computational research and education in order to act as a key enabler for the state's aspirations in advanced technology, information systems, and advanced industries. For additional information, visit http://www.osc.edu.

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