A user-friendly interface for the NSE has been constructed in the form of a distributed HTML document. The root of this document is the NSE home page, which contains an outline from which users can reach all the collected HPCC information with a few clicks of the mouse. Although portions of the NSE interface reside at different sites, most of the HTML pages making up the current prototype reside at the University of Tennessee. These pages have been indexed using WAIS, and a facility for doing keyword searching on the WAIS index has been provided. In the near future, indexing of the NSE HTML pages will be done by a Harvest Broker which will use either Glimpse or freeWAIS as the indexing and search engine . Because Harvest provides automatic support for gathering, summarizing, and indexing remote HTML pages and for keeping the resulting index up-to-date, a Broker running at the University of Tennessee will be able to index HTML pages from all the NSE sites, either by having these sites run Gatherers locally or by doing remote gathering.
From the NSE home page, the user can jump to a page listing HPCC programs and activities. These programs include US federal agencies, DOE, NSF, government, and university supercomputing centers, and various consortiums. The user may click on the name of any listed site to connect directly to a WWW server for that site.
Another page reachable from the NSE home page is the Grand Challenges page, which includes subheadings for NSF Grand Challenge Application Groups, Oak Ridge National Lab Grand Challenge Projects, Argonne National Lab Grand Challenge Projects, University of Colorado Grand Challenge Projects, CRPC Grand Challenge Applications, and Grand Challenge conferences and meetings. The user can browse these pages and read descriptive material about the different projects, some containing contacts for further information.
Other headings on the NSE home page include Software/Enabling Technologies, Information Databases, Commercial Vendor Catalog, Publications, and Related Network Resources. Software/Enabling Technologies and Information Databases are discussed below. The Commercial Vendor Catalog page contains an on-going survey of high performance computing systems, as well as pointers to home pages for some commercial hardware and software vendors, and to home pages for user groups for various products. A form is provided which vendors can fill out and submit if they wish to be listed. The Publications page contains pointers to journal tables of contents and electronic journals, as well as pointers to WWW and gopher servers for professional societies. The Related Resources page has subheadings for other HPCC-related WWW pages, electronic newsgroups and discussion lists, and resources for NSE developers.
The NSE invites contributions from users. The NSE home page, as well as a number of other pages, contain an anchor which the user may click to obtain a fill-out form for making a contribution. The contributor fills in an email address, a URL for the contribution, and a title. Submitting the form causes an email message to be sent to the NSE maintainers, who review the contribution before adding it to the appropriate NSE page, which may be suggested by the contributor. The contributed material is maintained at the contributor's site - only a pointer in the form of a URL is included on the relevant NSE page. The email address of the contributor is kept confidential, although of course the contributor may choose to make such contact information available on the contribution itself.