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U.S. Department of Energy and IBM to Collaborate in Advancing Supercomputing Technology

Lawrence Livermore and Argonne National Lab Scientists to Work with IBM Designers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that its Office of Science, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and IBM will share the cost of a five-year, $58 million research and development (R&D) effort to further enhance the capabilities of the fastest computer in existence. Under the agreement, scientists from two of the DOE's national laboratories are teaming with IBM to further develop supercomputer technology to increase America's ability to deliver answers to scientific problems and to safeguard the nation's nuclear stockpile. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman congratulated Argonne and Livermore lab scientists at a meeting of DOE lab directors today.

"Supercomputing is essential to maintaining and extending America's economic competitiveness," said DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman. "This R&D effort will give us the capability to advance science and business with unprecedented speed, performance and efficiency."

A key goal of the R&D effort is to produce a software environment that enables scientific exploration atop an architecture that can scale to hundreds of thousands of low-power CPU cores. Some other specific examples of scientific problems in the national interest include:

• Reinvigorating nuclear power technologies;
• Speeding genome sequencing;
• Modeling environmental and climate changes; and
• Deepening the understanding of genetic and biological processes.

The work will be performed by scientists at DOE's Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) working together with computer and software designers from IBM. NNSA and The Office of Science will each contribute $17.5 million and IBM will contribute $23 million.

"Supercomputers are crucial to the continued success of the NNSA's science-based efforts to keep the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile safe, secure and reliable without underground testing," said NNSA Administrator Linton F. Brooks. "Computing at these scales will enable predictive simulations that allow researchers to understand how complex physical, chemical and biological systems behave over time. Previously, it was only possible to get brief snapshots on a smaller scale."

"IBM is committed to pushing the boundaries of deep computing in the service of important national goals," said Tilak Agerwala, Vice President of Systems, IBM Research. "This partnership with Livermore and Argonne National Lab will drive innovations in ultrascale computing and demonstrate that the Blue Gene approach can effectively scale far beyond any machine yet devised."

"This agreement will help us design computer architectures to attack key scientific problems, said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, DOE Under Secretary for Science. "It offers a tremendous step forward."

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the nation and helps ensure U.S. world leadership across a broad range of scientific disciplines. The Office of Science supports a diverse portfolio of research at more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide, manages 10 world-class national laboratories with unmatched capabilities for solving complex interdisciplinary scientific problems, and builds and operates the world's finest suite of scientific facilities and instruments used annually by more than 19,000 researchers to extend the frontiers of all areas of science.

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