Indiana University and IBM Unveil the Nation's Largest University-Owned Supercomputer

Joint Life Sciences Research Planned

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BLOOMINGTON, IND - 17 Oct 2001: Indiana University (IU) and IBM today announced that IU has acquired the nation's largest university-owned supercomputer.

The IBM SP supercomputer, which has been expanded to triple the university's previous computing capacity, will support IU researchers in a broad range of areas, including life sciences, archaeology, astronomy, and computational physics. It will also serve as the backbone for a planned genomics research collaboration with IBM.

Capable of performing one trillion numerical calculations per second, the teraflop system is the university's largest high-performance computing acquisition ever. The supercomputer is part of the information technology (IT) infrastructure needed to support the Indiana Genomics (INGEN) initiative. This initiative was funded by a major grant from the Lilly Endowment.

Today's announcement broadens a long-standing relationship between IU and IBM and promises a host of benefits to the university and the state of Indiana.

"This agreement builds on a critical mass of intellectual capital already established through IU's outstanding faculty and our expertise in IT-based research," said IU President Myles Brand. "Our faculty and staff will participate in developing state-of-the-art IT tools and applications for life sciences research, including genomics, which will help us discover new ways of preventing and treating human disease."

"Indiana University's teraflop system lays the groundwork for IU to become a leading institution for genomic research," said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM vice president, Technology & Strategy, IBM Server Group. "Our expanded collaboration will open doors to new discovery and enable both organizations to draw on complementary strengths, including IBM's extensive research expertise in computational biology and advanced IT solutions."

IU is uniquely positioned to advance life sciences research through INGEN, a collaboration of scientists and physicians who will study the information that makes up the human genome and its function in human health. INGEN combines the strength of the IU School of Medicine, research programs in biology and chemistry, and IU's leadership in high performance computing. IBM is the primary provider of supercomputing technology for INGEN.

"The sequencing of the human genome launched a new era of research in the life sciences," said Michael McRobbie, IU vice president for information technology and chief information officer. "The unprecedented amounts of genomic data require advanced computational resources. The teraflop supercomputer is a key first component of INGEN's IT infrastructure and will provide a major boost to scientific progress at IU in this area."

The expanded IBM SP supercomputer will provide the computational and data management power required to make advances in many important areas of genomic science. Biomedical and biological sciences present a tremendous wealth of data. Supercomputers are required to analyze these massive data stores and to create the linkages among different types of data (for example, clinical records and genetic information) that will enable new breakthroughs in health care.

"The transformation of life sciences research has brought numerous challenges to the scientific community," said George Strawn, acting assistant director for computer and information science and engineering at the National Science Foundation. "NSF recognizes that the data- and compute-intensive nature of the research requires instruments that US scientists working nationally and internationally can share. IU, in collaboration with IBM, is working to meet these challenges and to make advanced computational resources remotely accessible to the broader research community."

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