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WPI Takes Delivery of IBM Supercomputer

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Deep Blue Technology to Assist in University Research Ranging from Fire Safety to Blood Flow Analysis and More

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Contact: Arlie Corday, WPI Media & Community Relations


Dr. Homer Walker, professor and Mathematical Sciences department head shows off WPI's new IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer in its new home.
WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester Polytechnic Institute has taken delivery of an IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer to develop computational models that will help researchers tackle complex problems ranging from solving the mysteries behind accidental fires and explosions, to why plaque causes human arteries to collapse, to improved design of highway traffic barriers.

This new RS/6000 SP, based on the same supercomputer technology that beat grand chess master Garry Kasparov, will greatly increase WPI's computing power and strengthen its leadership in global technological education.

Through its Shared University Research Program, IBM Corp. gave WPI nearly $1.1 million in hardware and software. In addition, United Technologies and the National Science Foundation provided funds, along with some cost sharing by WPI. The total grant came to $1.34 million.

The RS/6000 SP, running AIX, IBM's UNIX operating system, will be used primarily in mathematical sciences, but also by other departments, said Homer Walker, professor and head of the WPI Department of Mathematical Sciences.

"This will be the first major supercomputer on campus, a milestone development for our department and for WPI," he said. "The total hardware acquisition will amount to an RS/6000 SP with 16 Power3 nodes (32 processors), a control workstation and two high-performance dual-processor graphics workstations. A significant software grant will enable us to use the parallel machine effectively."


Above is an example of the type of research that WPI students and faculty will perform using the new supercomputer. This particular graphic illustrates thermally driven flow in a 3D cube.
Users of the supercomputer will include faculty as well as graduate and undergraduate students in mathematical sciences and other departments.

"Ultimately, I see the whole campus using it for many demanding computational tasks," Walker said. "It will enable us to do cutting-edge research in computational modeling."

"The selection of an RS/6000 SP gives WPI access to one of the world's premier platforms for high-performance computing," said Mike Henesey, director of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, IBM RS/6000 Scientific and Technical Computing. "Today there are more RS/6000 SPs listed on the TOP500 list of supercomputers than any other single system from any other vendor."

WPI, founded in 1865, is renowned for its project-based curriculum. Under the WPI Plan, students integrate classroom studies with research projects conducted on campus and around the world. For more information on WPI, please visit its Web site at www.wpi.edu. For additional information on RS/6000 servers please visit www.rs6000.ibm.com. For information directly related to the RS/6000 SP please visit www.rs6000.ibm.com/hardware/largescale/SP/index.html. For additional information on the TOP500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers, please visit www.top500.org.

IBM, AIX, SP and RS/6000 are registered trademarks or trademarks of the IBM corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and/or other countries licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Limited. Other company, products and service names, which may be denoted by a double asterisk (**) may be trademarks or service marks of others.