IBM Wins DARPA Funding
IBM has been awarded $53.3 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the second phase of DARPA’s High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) initiative. IBM’s proposal, named PERCS (Productive, Easy-to-use, Reliable Computing System), is to conduct ground-breaking research over the next 36 months in areas including revolutionary chip technology, new computer architecture, operating systems, compiler and programming environments.
The research program will allow IBM and its partners to pursue a vision of a highly-adaptable system that configures its hardware and software components to match application demands. Adaptability enhances the technical efficiency of the system, its ease of use, and its commercial viability by accommodating a large set of commercial and high performance computing workloads. Ultimately, IBM aims at producing systems that automatically analyzes the workload and dynamically respond to the changes in application demands by configuring its components to match application needs.
Commercial viability is another fundamental goal for the IBM effort. “This program builds on the unique breadth and depth of our research and development organizations,” said Nick Donofrio, IBM senior vice president, corporate technology and manufacturing. “IBM has a proven track record of innovating with a sense of business reality and pushing out these innovations in commercially-viable products. This program matches our philosophy of accelerating the flow of innovation out of the labs into the marketplace.”
PERCS is based on an integrated software-hardware co-design that will enable multi-petaflop sustained performance by 2010. It leverages IBM’s Power architecture and will enable customers to preserve their existing solution and application investments. PERCS also aims at reducing the time-to-solution, starting from the inception to actual result. To this end, PERCS will include innovative, middleware, compiler and programming environments that will be supported by hardware features to automate many phases of the program development process.
IBM is one of three companies, along with Cray Inc. and Sun Microsystems, that received the DARPA HPCS grant for Phase II. The HPCS Phase I industry teams also included Hewlett-Packard and Silicon Graphics, Inc. In the second phase of the program, IBM will collaborate with a consortium of 12 leading universities and the Los Alamos National Lab to pursue an ambitious vision of an adaptable computing system with an eye on commercial viability.
The IBM project will be managed out of IBM’s Research Lab in Austin and will include members from its worldwide Research Division, Systems Group, Software Group and Microelectronics Division.