Information Technology

Big Dawg on Campus

Frank LevinsonWhile maintaining interests in astronomy and technological innovations, Dr. Frank Levinson founded Small World Group to help advance world awareness of a number of scientific issues, including global ecology, which may help improve the quality of life for all humans and sentient beings. Levinson earned a bachelor's in mathematics and physics from Butler in 1975.

Recently Levinson gifted Butler University with a $5 million donation, with which Butler has purchased its first supercomputer, "Big Dawg." President Bobby Fong announced the gift to a group of educators during a National Science Foundation conference on campus.

The grant from Levinson will be used to upgrade the university's science programs. The supercomputer will enable faculty and students to perform advanced research, and help the university recruit the next generation of computer programmers.

Levinson worked with faculty to ensure that his donation will have the greatest possible influence on campus culture. He developed the supercomputer project with Jon Sorenson, head of Butler's Department of Computer Science.

"We are going to have an advantage if we train our students to write programs on this type of computer because the supercomputers of today are the desktops in 20 years," said Sorenson.

The grant will also be used in biology to expand coursework in tropical biology at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute facilities in Panama, and in physics, allowing that department to join the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy, a telescope consortium. Levinson's gift will be spread out over five years, so many of the initiatives have not yet been determined.

"Long term, our commitment to this avenue of research is that Butler will get a new machine every four to five years and will keep the previous machine more for students," Levinson told The Indianapolis Star. "It is my hope to find ways to have this facility grow and stay current over the next 20-plus years."

Last year Levinson accepted an honorary Doctor of Sciences from Butler University, taking part in the time-honored commencement ceremony. He now lives and works in California.