IBM and Texas A&M University System announced a broad research collaboration to drive computational sciences research through big data and analytics.
Big Blue said the collaboration will leverage the power of big data analytics and high performance computing (HPC) systems for solutions across a spectrum of challenges, such as improving extraction of Earth-based energy resources, facilitating the smart energy grid, accelerating materials development, improving disease identification and tracking in animals, and fostering better understanding and monitoring of our global food supplies.
“Combining the intellectual and technological resources of Texas A&M University and IBM will further position Texas as a leader in identifying and solving some of the most complex challenges we face,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. “The work that will be done here will change lives and potentially save lives not just in our state, but our nation and around the world.”
IBM will provide the infrastructure for the joint research consisting of the company’s Blue Gene/Q technology, Power and System x servers and General Parallel File Systems (GPFS) Storage Systems. A test of the Blue Gene/Q on campus found that it ran a material sciences problem that previously took weeks to solve and produced a solution in "a fraction of an hour" with much greater analytical depth.
“The Texas A&M System and IBM share a passion and a commitment to research that identifies practical solutions to global challenges,” said Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M University System in a statement. “As the largest research university in the state, this agreement is a major step forward for the A&M System in research computing power. This brings together the best computer scientists and technology in the world to focus on issues so important to our role as a leading research institution and to our land-grant mission of serving the state while also providing resources to serve the greater good throughout the world.”
IBM Research and the A&M System intend to align skills, assets and resources to pursue fundamental research, applied development, educational reach and sustainable commercial activities with projects that may include sustainable availability of food; disease Spread Tracking, Modeling and Prediction; energy resource management and new materials development, including atomic-level modeling, design and testing of new materials for advanced applications in energy, aerospace, structural and defense applications.
As a premier engineering research agency of Texas, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), which conducts research to provide practical answers to critical state and national needs, will be heavily involved from the Texas A&M University System and according to Katherine Banks, director of TEES and vice chancellor of engineering, “This is a unique opportunity to meet the needs of engineering, geosciences and agriculture and life sciences researchers to expand in areas not feasible before with small-scale HPC systems.”
“IBM and the Texas A&M System have crafted a unique collaboration that could apply computational science and big data analytics to some of the most daunting problems in agriculture, geosciences and engineering,” said William LaFontaine, vice president of High Performance Analytics and Cognitive Markets at IBM, in a statement. “With the combined research capabilities of both institutions and ready access to state-of-the-art computing technology, we feel this collaboration could produce significant scientific insights leading to industry-changing solutions and material economic impact. We are extremely pleased to be engaged with such extraordinarily capable institutions in the A&M System and look forward to years of discovery and innovation.”
TEES partners with academic institutions, governmental agencies, industries and communities to solve problems to help improve the quality of life, promote economic development and enhance the educational systems of Texas. It is intimately connected with the College of Engineering of Texas A&M University, which is undergoing an unprecedented growth to become a college with 25,000 students by the year 2025 and hire a new generation of faculty who will be addressing the nation’s needs for research and technology development.