IBM Inks Blue Gene Supercomputer Deals With Rice, Rutgers Universities

IBM announced deals with Rice University and Rutgers University to deliver the company’s Blue Gene supercomputer systems to schools for scientific research and more.

IBM has had a busy week with academia, announcing partnerships with both Rice University and Rutgers University to advance supercomputing at their institutions and in their home states of Texas and New Jersey, respectively.

On March 30, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Rice University announced a partnership to build the first IBM Blue Gene supercomputer in Texas. Rice also announced a related collaboration agreement with the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in Brazil to initiate the shared administration and use of the Blue Gene supercomputer, which allows both institutions to share the benefits of the new computing resource.

IBM officials said Rice faculty will use the Blue Gene to further their own research and to collaborate with academic and industry partners on a broad range of science and engineering questions related to energy, geophysics, basic life sciences, cancer research, personalized medicine and more.

The collaborative agreement securing Brazil's share of time on Rice's Blue Gene was signed in Sao Paulo March 27 by a delegation that included Rice President David Leebron and USP President Joao Grandino Rodas. Leebron is traveling with a delegation led by Houston Mayor Annise Parker. The delegation includes Rice Provost George McLendon, Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) President and CEO Jeff Moseley and other GHP members.

"Collaboration and partnership have a unique place in Rice's history as a pre-eminent research university, and it is fitting that Rice begins its second century with two innovative partnerships that highlight the university's commitments to expanding our international reach, strengthening our research and building stronger ties with our home city," Leebron said in a statement.

USP is Brazil's largest institution of higher education and research, and Rodas said the agreement represents an important bond between Rice and USP. "The joint utilization of the supercomputer by Rice University and USP, much more than a simple sharing of high-tech equipment, means the strength of an effective partnership between both universities," he said.

Mayor Parker, a 1978 Rice alumna, said, "When I was at Rice, it looked inward. Today, it looks outward through this agreement. It strengthens not only Rice University but also the city of Houston."

Rice's new Blue Gene supercomputer, which has yet to be named, is slated to become operational in May. It is based on IBM's POWER processor technology, which was developed in part at the company's Austin, Texas, labs. Rice and IBM shared the cost of the system.