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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, October 3, 2001

UH getting a boost from supercomputer

Few things will better serve to vault Hawai'i into the high-tech New Economy than having its flagship university operate one of the world's premier supercomputers.

In a duel between academic centers, the University of Hawai'i won the right to operate the Maui High Performance Computer Center and its supercomputer.

The University of New Mexico had managed the center since its creation in the early 1990s, helping the Air Force conduct experiments, farm out unused capacity, monitor systems and upgrade equipment.

Nothing against the University of New Mexico (except for a few humiliating experiences on its basketball court), but with this contract under its belt, UH is reaching for greatness, and the entire state stands to benefit.

The contract, which started this week, can be extended for up to 10 years based on performance and has a potential value of $181 million. The military likely will be using it for projects such as defense against terrorists, ballistic missiles and attacks on America's assets in space.

But unused computer time is made available for other research, making it an important asset of another sort for this state. If a high-tech future is in the cards for Hawai'i, this is a big step.