KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The University of Tennessee has received $18 million to help link the nation's supercomputers.

A university statement Tuesday said the supercomputing grid will create a powerful tool for taking on some of the most complex problems in science.

The National Institute for Computational Sciences will carry out the project, which is part of a $121 million National Science Foundation program to improve connections between high-performance computers, data sources, and experimental facilities.

The institute center is housed in the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, which is jointly operated by UT Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment program will replace the TeraGrid linkage that now connects the country's supercomputing resources.

The University of Illinois is the lead institution on the program.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.