Ohio High School Students Witness the Future

Columbus, Ohio -- July 21, 1999 -- Tomorrow's world is being experienced today -- at least by 11 Ohio high school students.

These high school students are using technologies most of us never will. And it's all happening during the 1999 Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) Summer Institute: Computing and Networking for the New Millennium. The Institute, which runs July 12-23, immerses freshmen and sophomores in the technologies that are helping to shape the future -- high performance computing and networking.

The students use OSC computing resources -- which encompass some of the fastest and most advanced computers known to man -- and apply them to solve problems scientists and engineers face every day. Called supercomputers, these fast machines can solve calculations up to 400 times faster than an Intel Pentium 200 MHz personal computer available at a local computer store.

Using the Center's computing and networking resources isn't the only valuable lesson these students learn, however. They also must learn how to work on a team to solve complex problems.

"By working collaboratively as a team, these students learn how researchers work together to advance science and engineering to improve the world in which we live," said Charlie Bender, OSC director.

The first week of the institute focuses on learning programming skills and languages, such as Perl and VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language). The second week becomes the true challenge, however, as the students must put to the test what they learned in week one to complete their team projects.

One team will examine ways to improve the design on a racecar chassis so NASCAR drivers like Jeff Gordon can break new speed records in the future. Another group will ensure that a network is operating appropriately so individuals using the Internet do not notice interruptions in service.

OSC's Summer Institute is not just about intensive classes and completing a project, it's also about having fun, Bender noted. "These students will discover issues and take part in applications that may not become common knowledge for five-to-ten more years."

OSC, located in Columbus, is a state-supported resource for Ohio's scientists, engineers, and educators. High performance computing, networking, and education converge at OSC to help position Ohio as a research and information state. The Center promotes collaboration with and among its users to benefit Ohio research and possibly affect the way the world turns in the next millennium. The Center's networking division, helps position Ohio as an information state connecting more than a million Ohioans to the Internet.