Super Computer Jobs at Risk

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Employees of the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center have been given notice that their jobs could end next summer. Some 45 full-time employees and a number of part-time workers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks facility were notified on Tuesday. U.A.F. Executive Officer Bob Shefchik says the move is in anticipation of the loss of a Department of Defense research support grant that funds most of the center’s budget. No formal decision has been made, but the D.O.D. is working to reduce the number of supercomputer centers it contacts with, and it has indicated U.A.F. grant will likely be cut out. That would trim the center’s budget from the current $12 million, to $2.5 million. Shefchik says the plan is for a downsized supercomputing facility. Current Super Computer Center employees will be given first opportunity to apply for the positions at the smaller operation, but chief scientist Greg Newby is being to head up the downsized facility.  Newby says the center has a new computer and storage system in anticipation of possible loss of D.O.D. equipment.

Download Audio (MP3)