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University of Pittsburgh Launches New NSF-funded National Research Center for Advanced Computing in Space and Other Harsh Environments

PITTSBURGH (October 2, 2017) … The National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Space, High-performance, and Resilient Computing (SHREC) celebrated its grand opening on Sept. 18 with a ribbon cutting and tours of the facility at the Schenley Place building on the University of Pittsburgh Oakland campus.

“Pittsburgh provides an ideal setting to foster and support high-tech research collaboration between industry, academia, and government,” said Alan George, the Mickle Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Pitt and founder of SHREC. Dr. George became chair of the Swanson School of Engineering’s ECE Department in January. 

The main research focus of SHREC is “mission-critical computing,” which includes space computing; high-performance computing and data analytics; and resilient computing to ensure computer dependability in harsh environments like space or the ocean floor.

SHREC expects to bring about $1 million in external research funding to Pitt each year and is funded by the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers Program. The University of Pittsburgh is the lead institution of the national research center, and partners include Brigham Young University and University of Florida.

“We plan to grow to four or five universities in the next few years and more than 30 industry and government partners,” said Dr. George.

The SHREC team currently operates two experimental space processors deployed on the NASA International Space Station (ISS) and will add six more in late 2018 or early 2019. NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense deployed the first two processors as part of the Space Test Program – Houston 5 (STP-H5) payload in February.

During the grand opening, students offered demonstrations of the SHREC facilities. In the Spacecraft Assembly Room, they showed attendees how they communicate with the ISS and direct space missions from the Pitt campus.

“Our focus is student-centered, and the students get to work directly with the computers in space,” said Dr. George. “Space technology applies to most of the engineering disciplines, and I would encourage anyone interested in our work to get in touch with us.”

SHREC will replace the NSF Center for High-performance Reconfigurable Computing (CHREC), which moved to Pitt in January under the direction of Dr. George. CHREC will sunset in December after 11 years of operation.


Image above (from left to right): Gerald Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering; Dr. George; and Dr. Rob Rutenbar, senior vice chancellor for research, at the SHREC ribbon-cutting.

Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Contact: Paul Kovach