IBM awards UT with supercomputer hardware

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee’s Tickle College of Engineering has reached an agreement with IBM that includes the award of high-performance computing hardware based on the same technology as the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Summit, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“Computer science and engineering play critical roles in an ever-changing world,” Janis Terpenny, Wayne T. Davis Endowed dean’s chair of the Tickle College of Engineering, said. “Our relationship with IBM has allowed our faculty and students to flourish in these vital areas, while at the same time providing the company the data it needs to drive future decisions.”

The Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will be home to the installation.

Where Summit takes up a warehouse-sized space, UT’s system will be located in the Claxton Complex, giving access to the same IBM POWER9 technology at a scaled-down level.

“IBM has a long history of supporting academic and industrial partnerships through diverse initiatives,” General Manager of IBM Systems Strategy and Development Jamie Thomas said. “We’re delighted to enable the faculty and students to explore the next generation of data and AI problems across industries.”

The agreement was spurred on by former interim dean Mark Dean who is an IBM Fellow and holds three of the company’s first nine patents related to personal computing.

While being one of the few universities to have a version of the world’s most powerful computer holds obvious benefits for UT, IBM also gets hands-on, real-world feedback from UT as research and experiments conducted on campus help improve and extend the computing giant’s understanding of how to guide the next generation of supercomputers.

“This new IBM cluster will help us explore and push the boundaries of high-performance computing at UT,” professor Michela Taufer said. “

Additionally, other faculty members in the department are pushing different advancements such as edge, cloud, and neuromorphic computing, data analytics and machine learning, and the development of new computer architectures.

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