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IBM Expands Latin American Grid Computing Initiative


Florida Atlantic University Joins Grid Generating More IT Opportunities for Hispanic Students

ARMONK, NY & BOCA RATON, FL - 01 Dec 2006: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Florida Atlantic University has become the tenth member of the IBM-led Latin American Grid (LA Grid), an effort to create professional IT opportunities for the Hispanic community and to advance research in areas such as life sciences, weather modeling and prediction.

LA Grid, a collection of computing resources in North America, Latin America and Spain woven together to act as one massive supercomputer, has become one of the world’s largest university grid initiatives. LA Grid joins universities in several countries and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center to provide computational computing power to researchers and students, advance research initiatives for both the group and the individual university members and to foster greater collaboration on social research.

While joint research programs in hurricane mitigation, life sciences and healthcare are the priority for LA Grid, member universities can also access the joint supercomputing resources for independent research. FAU, for example, plans to conduct research on the human genome, bioinformatics mapping, computational physics, integrated computation and communications, video processing, computer simulation and information security.

“We are very excited to be a part of the LA Grid initiative and look forward to collaborating with IBM and our partners,” said Dr. Larry F. Lemanski, FAU’s vice president for research. “FAU was selected because of our advanced research, Hispanic technical professional talent, and executive commitment to fulfill the vision of LA Grid.”

Talent development is a major goal for LA Grid members. Studies, like a May 2006 Taulbee survey done for Computer Research News, have found there are very few Hispanic students graduating college with IT degrees. As part of their commitment to the grid, member universities provide students with hands-on access to research projects and IBM-sponsored programs that provide internships and mentoring to students.

“IBM is investing talent, technology and resources for this initiative to make it a catalyst to build the next generation of technology talent across the U.S. and Latin America,” said Pete Martinez, vice president, IBM Consulting Services. “The strong partnership between FAU and other academic institutions will play an important role in creating jobs, driving innovative technology into the marketplace and stimulating Florida’s economy.”

IBM’s first priority for LA Grid is to extend research in areas facing the United States, Latin America and the world like hurricane mitigation and disease research but the company is also hoping the grid will help encourage Hispanic students to pursue careers in computer technology and engineering. Since LA Grid’s inception last December, IBM has already given over 30 internships to students at LA Grid member universities. As the level of student involvement in the grid increases, IBM will offer additional development programs like one-on-one mentorships and, in some cases, full-time employment to students working on the grid as well.

By joining LA Grid, FAU will contribute research scientists and the university’s supercomputer based on IBM BladeCenter Systems from the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Grid computing links heterogeneous computing resources, often in multiple locations, to allow numerous resources to work and act as one. Just as an Internet user views a unified instance of content via the Web, a grid user essentially sees a single, large virtual computer. By doing so, grids allow organizations to optimize computing and data resources, pool them for large capacity workloads, and share them across networks.

FAU will formally begin its work on the grid this month. Current LA Grid participants include Florida International University, the University of Miami, the University of North Florida and the University of Puerto Rico, Monterrey Tech (Mexico) as well as the Universidad de la Plata (Argentina) and Instituto Universitario Aeronautico (Mexico). Additional grid members providing computing power and resources include the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (Spain) and IBM South Florida.

With FAU joining the grid, LA Grid will add another 150 servers to the grid and will have 1,500 available member processors for shared use. IBM’s goal is to see LA Grid grow to include as many as 30 universities and 10,000 member processors by 2010.

FAU, nationally recognized for its ethnic diversity, has a student population that is 17 percent African-American, 16 percent Hispanic, four percent international and five percent Asian.


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