Brown, IBM Unveil Multimillion-Dollar Supercomputer
Published on November 20, 2009
Brown University and IBM have opened a multimillion-dollar supercomputer at Brown's Center for Computation and Visualization. The supercomputer, nicknamed ‚??Big Rhody‚?Ě is the most powerful computational system in Rhode Island and will be used by researchers statewide to tackle "grand challenges" affecting Ocean State residents in climate change, education, energy and health.
An MOU was signed in May of this year to launch the project and, according to IBM executive Nicholas Bowen who is overseeing the project, it is a testament to the state of Rhode Island that the computer system could be deployed so quickly. He added, in a small state like Rhode Island, it is much easier to facilitate multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary projects to do Big Science and solve the increasingly complex problems facing our world.
IBM has long been a collaborative partner of Brown, having supported many research and educational activities across the Brown campus for decades. The supercomputer partnership began to take shape in spring 2008, when Briant introduced Bowen to Rhode Island's Science and Technology Advisory Council, and the parties explored IBM's statewide relationship model and the unique challenges and opportunities that Rhode Island brought to a partnership model. Since then, Brown has convened several statewide working groups, comprising elected officials, academic leaders and representatives in health care and information technology. From those talks emerged the partnership and the initiative to use the supercomputer to address major societal issues.
To better define which challenges will be undertaken, during the next several months Brown and IBM will host a series of symposia involving world-class scientific experts to discuss how the supercomputer can be used to tackle pressing societal problems in Rhode Island.