News Update :: Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Contracts, Deals, Awards

Rensselaer Boasts Most Powerful Campus Supercomputer

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced a $100 million deal with IBM and the State of New York to build what it says will be the world’s most powerful university-based supercomputer center. The Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI) will focus on nanotechnology research, including reducing the time and costs of manufacturing nano-scale materials, devices, and systems.

Chipmaker AMD and Cadence Design Systems, an electronic design automation software developer, will collaborate with Rensselaer and IBM to deliver advanced simulation and modeling of nano-electronic devices and circuitry. "The CCNI will…conduct a broad range of computational simulations, from the interactions between atoms and molecules up to the behavior of the complete device," said Omkaram Nalamasu, vice president for research at Rensselaer. "This will help enable the semiconductor industry to bridge the gaps between fundamental device science, design, and manufacturing at the nano-scale."

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Berkeley Internet Lab Gets Support from Five IT Giants

Five technology giants, IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Corp., NTT Multimedia Communications Laboratories, Inc., Nortel Networks, and Oracle Corp. have signed on as affiliate members of an Internet research lab at the University of California at Berkeley, each pledging annual contributions of up to $170,000 for the next five years.

Berkeley’s Reliable, Adaptive and Distributed (RAD) systems laboratory, which launched last December, is using statistical machine learning to maintain the large distributed computer systems needed to run data-intensive Internet businesses. The systems typically require hundreds of engineers for development, debugging, and ongoing maintenance. The lab is designing software architecture that will automate this, making it possible for small groups to develop the kinds of Internet services that currently require large teams of engineers.

This corporate backing reflects a shift in the way long-term university research is funded, according to David Patterson, a UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and the RAD Lab's founding director. "Until recently, federal grants from the Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation covered research costs for large projects such as this," Patterson said. "But reductions in government funding of information technology research led us to seek alternative funding sources."

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