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By Frederick Streitz, director of Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s High Performance Computing Innovation Center

We live in a time of tough economic competition that demands industry and business respond to global market forces as quickly and efficiently as possible. At stake is American leadership in technology as well as other industrial and business domains.

There is growing international recognition of the important role high performance computing (HPC) can play in the innovation that is critical to economic competitiveness. We need only look at the Top500 list of the world’s most powerful computers over the last five years to see that supercomputing is seen as an essential tool for scientific discovery and an engine of technology innovation from France, Italy, Germany and Spain to India, China and Japan.

From a federal government perspective, the competitiveness of American business and industry has become a matter of national security. Continued US leadership in science and technology is considered by many to be critical to the nation’s security and economic prosperity.

In line with this growing recognition, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and IBM are broadening a highly productive 20-year partnership to make HPC and domain expertise in science and engineering available to US industry. LLNL and IBM have formed Deep Computing Solutions, a collaboration that aims to help US companies use HPC capabilities and expertise, at a level previously only available to national research laboratories, to improve their competitiveness in the global marketplace.

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Deep Computing Solutions will help industry leverage the game-changing capabilities of HPC systems such as Vulcan, the 5.2 petaflops IBM BlueGene/Q machine currently being installed at LLNL for unclassified collaborative projects.

Residing inside the larger framework of Lawrence Livermore’s High Performance Computing Innovation Center, a facility that opened its doors one year ago in LLNL’s open campus collaboration area, Deep Computing Solutions will be jointly staffed by IBM and Lawrence Livermore. The HPCIC facilitates collaboration across industry, academia and government agencies for the benefit of businesses, the HPC ecosystem and the nation’s future HPC-skilled workforce.

Deep Computing Solutions brings together IBM’s extensive experience providing US industry and business with computing solutions and Lawrence Livermore’s long history of application of HPC to national security and such challenges as grid and network management, fusion energy, seismology and climate change. The addition of IBM’s complementary expertise through Deep Computing Solutions will extend the range of solutions available to companies through the HPCIC beyond research and development to include enterprise-critical applications that can improve our electric grid, advance manufacturing, discover new materials and leverage Big Data, for example.

IBM and LLNL are confident they can build on a nearly 20-year legacy of fielding and operating leading-edge HPC systems and delivering the breakthrough science these machines have made possible. Through Deep Computing, the goal now is to put the proven power of this partnership to work for industry and the nation, beginning immediately.


Here’s a video about Lawrence Livermore’s Sequoia, the fastest supercomputer in the world.

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While this all sounds great, this is nothing new. The federal labs have been trying to do this for years with limited success. The reason is a lack of commitment to the premise of true industrial use and applied science. The labs focus for the most part of “science discovery” and not the applications to solve industrial needs. This is not a criticism it just is what it is. Having a big computer and a bunch of scientists does NOT make a tool for business. However having a team of scientists committed to solve business needs does create that tool. The mindset and policies imbedded at the national labs treat industrial use and applied research as a secondary mission and reward researchers for “discovery” rather than providing incentives to those researchers to do the ton of work it takes getting a manufacturer to embed simulation-based science into their production line. This is why the labs have underperformed on expanding HPC to more mainstream industrial use. I congratulate IBM and the Lab for trying to sell this concept, and as well as their partnership in creating the next generation supercomputing technology, however, if the Feds are serious about industrial collaborations they should look at what we in NYS are doing with our HPC2 program. We have had, and continue to have, a great deal of success in assisting business in using and applying the concepts of simulation-based engineering. We have also delivered many HPC based solutions to a collective array of business from advanced manufacturing to hedge funds. I would love the opportunity to discuss ways we can collaborate and together create a comprehensive plan to deploy programs, tools and expertise to solve industrial problems allowing US based businesses to think differently and go on the offense rather than playing defense like they have for the last 2 decades.

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December 13, 2012
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[...] Sequoia, an IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer built on the IBM POWER Architecture at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. The 16+ petaflop system, #2 on the TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers [...]

Posted by: Sequoia Supercomputer Simulates the Human Heart in Dramatic Detail « A Smarter Planet Blog
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