James Oddo, Minority Leader of the New York City Council, brought Christine Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council, to the College of Staten Island for an introduction to The City University of New York’s supercomputer, Athena.

An integral part of CUNY’s Decade of Science, the High-Performance Computational Facility will help researchers to address critical issues and make new discoveries. In addition, plans are in the works to form partnerships with businesses in southern Manhattan, providing computer support to these firms while they offer funding for Athena and its facilities.

Currently, Athena is processing data to improve traffic flow over the Outerbridge Crossing and develop accurate, long-range weather forecasts, in addition to other University-wide data-intensive applications.

Speaker Quinn called the supercomputer “extraordinary,” saying that it will provide the “potential to create not just a massive high-tech computer center for CSI and CUNY but really for the entire tri-state area, which will mark New York as a leader in a field that’s growing and incredibly important.”

“CSI truly is a shining jewel in the CUNY system and the Staten Island community has full confidence in Dr. Morales to take it to the next level. We on Staten Island are understandably proud of the institution and I am happy to bring Speaker Quinn to show her the good things that are happening at this top-notch university and to ask for her assistance in future budgets,” said Councilmember James Oddo.

“The facility will provide CUNY researchers and staff with the computational resources to solve world-class problems in modeling and simulation, and to advance science in general,” said CSI President Tomás Morales. “It will also allow us to enhance the quality of our education experience for students.”

Morales noted that the computer and its facilities are still “in their infancy,” but that, with additional state funding, the College eventually hopes to build a 91,000 square foot “metropolitan computer center” that would serve academic and business interests in the entire downstate region.

Michael Kress, Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at CSI, added that the College is seeking $1 million in funding to renovate the physical space in Building 1M that houses Athena, and increase the supercomputer’s capacity as research demands dictate.

He added that Athena’s current capacity exceeds the capacity of the supercomputers at Columbia and New York University. The current capacity is an extraordinary leap forward for CUNY, allowing researchers to perform modeling simulations in a day that previously took a month.

In keeping up with technology and in response to the University-wide demand for such facilities, Athena is scheduled to double its capacity in March 2008, and then double its power again in July.

James Oddo, brought Christine Quinn, to CSI for an introduction to CUNY’s supercomputer, Athena.