IBM Awards Powerful Computing System to University of Lugano

Today IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced a Shared University Research (SUR) award in the form of a modern high-end server to the University of Lugano, Switzerland, to advance the design of future computer systems and applications for multi-core processors. The powerful new computer, an IBM Power 755, will be used to investigate how future computer systems can best be optimized as part of a three-year research collaboration with IBM Research – Zurich.

“This teamwork is game changing,” said Dr. Piero Martinoli, President of University of Lugano. “It is increasingly important, pushes the boundaries of science and is beneficial for society, even in the difficult years of economic uncertainty. We are glad to collaborate with one of the most important research organizations in the world.”

IBM and the University of Lugano will collaborate on research aimed to create future multi-core computer systems that are holistically optimized in terms of performance and energy efficiency – from the processor to specific applications, such as data analytics, that are rapidly gaining in importance for business, industry and society.

Researching the computer of tomorrow

Every business process has different requirements in terms of information technology (IT). The needs of the individual processes or applications determine how computer system workloads are defined. For example, powerful IT systems with extremely short response times are needed to process transactions, whereas archiving of enterprise data requires large and efficient storage systems. The development of so-called workload-optimized systems is an important emerging trend in IT.

“Virtualization on all levels and the transition to cloud computing models, in which companies obtain IT services in a flexible manner from a cloud provider rather than expanding their own IT infrastructures, offers great potential for holistic optimization of vital applications,” explains Dr. Matthias Kaiserswerth, Director of IBM Research – Zurich. “Our research collaboration with University of Lugano will focus on building scalable and efficient end-to-end computing solutions to enable companies to increase their productivity while saving time and cost.”

Hardware and software optimization

The research collaboration will mainly focus on novel, trend-setting, highly innovative applications, including data analytics, Web 2.0, cluster applications and applications in virtualized environments. In the three-year project named POEM (Performance of Emerging Workloads on Multi-cores), the scientists will use comprehensive performance analyses and simulations to gain insight into the complex, application-specific dependencies in the entire stack – from application to run-time environment and hardware – and identify potential bottlenecks.

Based on these investigations, the researchers will develop a methodology for efficient and dynamic performance analyses. Ultimately, the project is expected to yield important insights and tools to advance the co-design of future computer systems and software applications that are optimally aligned.

The IBM Power 755 rack-mounted server features IBM’s POWER7 technology and is designed to handle high performance computing applications and analytic workloads. It is ENERGY STAR qualified to help clients become more environmentally efficient.

The IBM Shared University Research (SUR) Award is a worldwide award program designed to promote research in areas of mutual value and interest to IBM and universities. The program targets a wide variety of areas, ranging from life sciences, high-performance computing and energy technology, to digital data protection. The collaboration in an area of significant interest to the university and IBM is expected to foster both knowledge transfer and IT innovation. More information about IBM’s university programs is available at www.ibm.com/press/university.

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