IBM to further develop Cell processor technology at IUPUI
Sept. 27, 2007
INDIANAPOLIS -- IBM announced today it will establish a worldwide center for developing products and applications using its advanced Cell chip technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis -- the first such IBM facility on a college campus.
IBM plans to staff the new 2,000-square-foot Future Technology Solution Design Center located in the university's Informatics and Communications Technology Complex with five professionals who will develop new products and applications based on advanced Cell processor technology.
IBM's investment in the facility is roughly $3.8 million, including equipment and staffing costs, with lab space and datacenter support leased from the university. Academic institutions and business customers will have access to the center to design, test and optimize new devices based on IBM's "supercomputer on a chip" technology.
"We chose Indiana for this center because of the close proximity of leading institutions like IU, IU School of Medicine and Purdue, as well as its well-earned reputation as a hot bed of life sciences expertise," said Robert Eades, manager of the center. "We believe we can couple this expertise with the advanced capabilities of our Cell technology to benefit not only medicine, but a broad range of industries and applications."
The Cell processor is an advanced chip developed in partnership by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, with up to nine processor cores that allow it to operate at speeds of up to 5GHz. Its ability to process large amounts of information, coupled with its high bandwidth communication capabilities, allow developers to place massive amounts of processing power into relatively small devices, improving performance easily and economically.
"This is a great new opportunity for Indiana and for our growing life sciences industry," said Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman. "IBM's commitment will allow the next generation of computing technology to evolve in Indiana."
Home to the IU School of Medicine, the nation's second-largest medical school, the IUPUI campus offers the new center access to researchers and life sciences leaders in the state to identify possible uses and applications for the new high-speed computing technology.
"Location matters, and locating this IBM applications center on the IUPUI campus brings together people and technology to advance Indiana," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and chief information officer. "This is a natural fit and an important public-private partnership for the state."
While IBM has partnerships with universities around the world, this is the first time it has located a technology development center staffed by IBM professionals on a college campus.
"To advance computing we are going to have to be more creative about how we use parallel programming," said Gerry McCartney, vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Purdue University. "By placing the Future Technology Solution Design Center along Indiana's I-65 research corridor, IBM will be able to work with scientists and engineers from Purdue, IUPUI, and IU-Bloomington to optimize their research so that it will run on the next generation of supercomputers."
IBM has already logged advances in life sciences using the new technology. A partnership with the Mayo clinic has allowed development of a Cell-based system to quickly analyze and compare 3D MRI images from the same patient taken months apart to evaluate the effectiveness of cancer treatment. This comparative process that once took seven hours can now be performed in seven minutes or less using the new Cell-based system.
Future applications in the medical field could include a global database of medical images that would allow doctors around the world to compare samples in real time -- allowing a doctor in New York to consult a specialist in San Francisco to more accurately and promptly diagnose a patient's condition.
Cell processors also can be used in other applications requiring the processing and sharing of large amounts of data, particularly image-processing applications. For example, products based on Cell are being developed for use in sonar and radar applications by Mercury Computers.