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Breakthrough 3D Visualization, Supercomputing Facility Gives Nation Glimpse of Louisiana's Brave New Future

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Eleven months after hurricanes pummeled southern Louisiana, Americans are seeking signs that the area is returning to what it once was. But here in Lafayette, the focus isn’t on recovering the past. Instead, state and local leaders have created a leading-edge technology center so advanced that it may well define the region’s future for decades to come.

In terms of sheer computing and visualization capability, the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE), is rare even among the world’s most elite computing centers. Though its supercomputers and visualization systems rank with those deployed at technology-rich national laboratories and government agencies, LITE is unlike any other institution in the world.

The first center to offer advanced visualization services and supercomputer resources to industry, universities and government, LITE is a $27 million, 70,000 square-foot complex located in the Research Park of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette LITE features one of the world’s most comprehensive and tightly integrated installations of technology from SGI (OTC:SGID). LITE’s immense storehouse of SGI® technology includes a digital 3D immersive visualization cube, the world’s largest visualization theatre, a 3D immersive visualization conference room, an immersive visualization tele-conference room, a network of SGI® Altix® 350 systems powered by 352 processors, and an 8TB SGI® InfiniteStorage Storage Area Network.

In addition, this summer LITE installed a 160-processor SGI® Altix® 4700 supercomputer with 4.1 trillion bytes (or terabytes) of memory. The new supercomputer has enough system memory to solve the sophisticated problems faced by environmental scientists, pharmaceutical researchers, automakers, energy companies, and intelligence agencies.

Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira, recognized as one of the world’s top visualization technology experts and one of the inventors of the CAVE®, recently joined LITE as executive director and chief scientist. At LITE, Dr. Cruz-Neira heads a team of professionals culled from technology industry leaders and premiere research institutes.

“ It’s exciting to be a part of this one-of-a-kind facility,” said Dr. Cruz-Neira. “Only LITE can offer such extensive visualization, supercomputing and storage resources to an oil and gas company one day, disaster recovery development groups, and a medical research group the next. LEDA and the entire LITE staff congratulates Governor Blanco for having the vision and tenacity necessary to bring this technology treasure to life, even in the face of the worst natural catastrophes in this nation’s history. LITE is truly a testament to the unstoppable spirit of Louisiana.”

" Today we are sending a message to corporations who must pursue an aggressive R&D agenda but have strict IT budgets that the road to innovation leads to Lafayette," says James L. Plumley, Chairman of the Board of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. "With the opening of LITE, Louisiana cements its position as the destination for corporations seeking to locate their development operations in a world-class advanced visualization center wherein a collaborative community of researchers and industry experts are available to facilitate development."

Recent state legislation has allowed LITE to spin off as an independent entity devoted to serving commercial, academic, and government users.

“ For researchers, LITE means the difference between simply conceiving a new idea and making it real,” said UL Lafayette President Ray P. Authement. “That alone would be reason enough to celebrate its opening. But by marrying the vested interests of commercial and academic communities in a single facility, LITE offers a rare proving ground for new ideas, techniques and technologies – one that speeds the journey of innovation from laboratory to marketplace faster than ever before. This is a unique gift that will render lasting benefits for both communities.”

LITE is the result of a partnership between the State of Louisiana, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA). Conceived as a magnet for economic development, the facility can host large-scale collaborative environments for research, application development, testing and validation, product development, commercial production and high-performance computer modeling.

ABOUT LITE…

LITE (Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise) is one of the world’s leading 3D visualization and supercomputing resources serving clients in commercial industry, government, and university sectors. LITE’s leading-edge research complex features a comprehensive set of advanced visualization systems including the world’s largest 3D theatre and one of the world’s first six-sided digital 3D total immersive space (TIS). As one of the most tightly integrated installations ever assembled, LITE features a massive supercomputer with 4.1 Terabytes of memory and high-speed networking. The center’s multiple data visualization environments afford organizations – both public and private – access to essential decision-making tools that transforms their process of innovation and accelerates their time to discovery.

LITE is a partnership between the State of Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) for the purpose of economic development. The partnership is unique in its mission to host state-of-the-art technology to a vast range of user communities. For more information please visit www.lite3d.com.

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