IBM Donates Supercomputer Resources

IBM and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory said
they will provide significant enhancements to the computer capabilities
available to scientific researchers around the world.

IBM and Argonne have agreed to augment Argonne’s Innovative and Novel
Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) computer capacity with compute
cycles on
IBM’s Blue Gene “BGW” supercomputer system at IBM T.J. Watson Research
Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

Argonne already planned to offer 10 percent of its computing cycles to
researchers via the Blue Gene/L, ranked as the
world’s fastest computer.
. With the latest announcement IBM will offer
an additional five percent of computer time on its BGW supercomputer, ranked
second fastest.

“What we’re really talking about about is over 1 million CPU hours
over the course of a year, running 24 x 7, minus maintenance and upgrades,”
Herb Schultz, a Blue Gene manager at IBM, told
“Depending on the project, the workload could take 10 racks at a time. We’re
trying to learn what these kinds of applications are all about, so it’s a
exercise for us.” Each of the twenty racks at the IBM facility has 2,048

TWhen completed this fall, Blue Gene/L should approach top processing
speeds of 360 teraflops , courtesy of a 64-rack system
with over 130,000 IBM PowerPC processors.

The other IBM Blue Gene system, nicknamed “BGW.” BGW has been
rated as the
second-fastest computer
in the world (, with a capacity
of 91 teraflops, or 91 trillion calculations per second.

Although he hasn’t seen the applications, Schultz said he doubts any of
the projects are merely proposals. He thinks most will already have been
started on a smaller scale using, for example, a Unix cluster. “They should
be projects with some
level of maturity already to justify the large scale of computing resources
being requested,” he said.

The deadline for applications was last month, and winners will be
announced by the DOE shortly. Prospective projects include large
applications in aerospace, automotive engineering, biotechnology, chemistry,
energy and physics.

Recent accomplishments under the INCITE program have
included detailed three-dimensional combustion simulations of flames that
provided new insight into reducing pollutants; astrophysics simulations of
the forces that help newly born stars and black holes increase in size; and
protein simulations designed to advance scientists’ knowledge of the
function of proteins and their use in drug design.

The INCITE program is open to all scientific researchers and research
organizations, including industry. The program seeks computation-intensive
research projects of large scale that can make high-impact
scientific advances through the use of a large allocation of computer time
and data storage. Proposals can be for one to three years.

“IBM invested in BGW . . . to explore a range of fields including life
sciences, hydrodynamics, materials sciences, quantum chemistry, molecular
dynamics and fluid dynamics — as well as business applications,” said Dave
Turek, vice president of Deep Computing at IBM, in a statement.

INCITE includes high-end computing resources not only at Argonne but also
at DOE’s Oak Ridge, Lawrence Berkeley and Pacific Northwest national

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