IBM and Livermore Lab Team to Boost U.S. HPC Competitiveness

IBM and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have extended a long-running partnership in an effort to enhance America's competitiveness in high-performance computing (HPC).

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have announced an extension of their 20-year relationship that is expected to boost American competitiveness in high-performance computing.

Through a new agreement, IBM and LLNL have formed an HPC collaboration called Deep Computing Solutions to take place within LLNL€™s High Performance Computing Innovation Center (HPCIC). The HPCIC itself opened in June 2011. The center was created to help American industry harness the power of supercomputing to better compete in the global marketplace. Deep Computing Solutions will bring a new dimension to the HPCIC, adding IBM€™s computational science expertise to LLNL€™s own.

€œThe capabilities of California€™s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are uniquely suited to boost American industry€™s competitiveness in the global marketplace,€ said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.) in a statement. €œThe new collaboration between the Lab and IBM is an excellent example of using the technical expertise of both the government and the private-sector to spur innovation and investment in the U.S. economy.

"The strength of supercomputing facilities like Livermore€™s High Performance Computing Innovation Center offers a broad range of solutions to energy, environmental and national security problems. I look forward to following the progress of this new collaboration in accelerating the development of products and services to maintain the nation€™s competitive advantage,€ she said.

Feinstein delivered remarks on the collaboration at a June 27 Capitol Hill briefing on "Big Data: The New Natural Resource." The focus of the briefing is how Congress and the Obama administration can harvest the great new resource of big data to address the nation's challenges.

Computer and domain science experts from IBM Research and LLNL will work together with a broad range of American industry collaborators to devise HPC solutions that can help accelerate the development of new technologies, products and services. Among areas of interest are applied energy; green energy, including renewable energy sources; biology; materials science; fabrication; manufacturing; data management; and informatics.

€œMaintaining a technological edge over the competition in the global marketplace is vital to both national security and the country€™s economic prosperity,€ said Frederick Streitz, director of the HPCIC, in a statement. €œDeep Computing Solutions will be an important ingredient of the HPC Innovation Center, building on IBM and LLNL€™s mutual experience in applying HPC to complex technical problems. Together we will help equip U.S. industry with the tools for technological innovation needed to stay ahead of the global competition.€

€œDeep Computing Solutions will deploy a comprehensive range of experienced researchers and developers from both IBM and LLNL to help develop robust solutions for its clients that can address enterprise-critical challenges, such as processing very large data sets to fuel competitive insights,€ James Sexton, program director of the Computational Science Center at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, said in a statement. €œThe potential is to aggressively increase the rate and pace of innovation for our clients and to deliver significant economic impact as a result.€

LLNL has procured a 5-petaflop€”quadrillion floating-point operations per second€”system to support HPCIC and Deep Computing Solutions efforts as well as unclassified National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) research programs, academic alliances and LLNL institutional science and technology efforts. Known as Vulcan, the new 24-rack IBM Blue Gene/Q system based on the IBM POWER architecture will be delivered in summer 2012. Vulcan is part of the contract that brought Sequoia, the 20-petaflop Blue Gene/Q machine recently ranked No. 1 on the TOP500 list of the world€™s fastest supercomputers, to Livermore.

Moreover, the NNSA/LLNL/IBM collaboration has produced six HPC systems that have been ranked among the world€™s most powerful computers including: The Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) Blue Pacific; ASCI White; the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Purple; Blue Gene/L; Blue Gene/P, Dawn; and Blue Gene/Q, Sequoia. ASCI White, Blue Gene/L and now Sequoia all attained a No. 1 ranking on the TOP500 list. The Blue Gene line of supercomputers received a Presidential Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama in 2009.