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UConn Marine Sciences Designated Sun Center of Excellence for Oceanography (Released: 09/19/01)

By Janice Palmer, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut and Sun Microsystems of Palo Alto, Calif., today announced the selection of the UConn Marine Sciences Program as the first-ever Sun Center of Excellence for Oceanography. In partnering with UConn, Sun has donated high-performance computing equipment, valued by Sun at nearly $2 million.

UConn is leading a multi-institutional effort to develop advanced technology for an ocean monitoring system. The Sun equipment will play an integral role in formulating essential computer models enabling scientists to detect, track and predict changes in the physical and biological systems of the ocean.

"Sun chose the University of Connecticut to be the Center for Excellence for Oceanography because it is leading the way for a new generation of oceanographic research," says Joe Hartley, director of U.S. sales. "UConn will serve as a national model for demonstrating how best to configure and operate a scalable Sun system-based oceanographic research environment. Sun offers the performance, reliability and availability for mission-critical systems that UConn needs."

"This is a phenomenal opportunity for the UConn Marine Sciences Program. Our affiliation with Sun elevates our profile in the marine sciences community, and we now house the computing power many scientists dream about," says Robert Whitlatch, head of the program.

UConn is collaborating with the Navy, Coast Guard, two private companies and three other research institutions on the ocean monitoring system. The research is funded by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP), a consortium of federally funded agencies.

One aspect of the system is a series of ocean sensors that sit on the ocean floor and function somewhat like the weather stations that already exist on land. The project's ultimate goal is to combine real- time current and plankton data with computer models, in much the same way that meteorologists use data and computer models to make weather forecasts.

One of the Sun high-performance computers, Model E6500 fully loaded with 30 CPUs and 30 GB of memory, is housed in a room in the new Marine Sciences Building on the Avery Point Campus in Groton, four Ultra 80 workstations. Another Sun high-performance computer is expected to arrive within a few weeks.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- The Network Is The Computer (tm) -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that power the Internet and allow companies worldwide to take their businesses to the nth. With $18.3 billion in annual revenues, Sun can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web at http://sun.com.

About the UConn Marine Sciences Program
The program is comprised of three main entities: the undergraduate degree program in coastal studies; the graduate degree programs (M.S. and Ph.D.) in oceanography; and the research support facilities, including a new $24 million building and a 76 foot research vessel. Additional information about the program and the NOPP research project can be found at http://www.marinesciences.uconn.edu.

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