IBM offers free supercomputing to sustainability scientists

IBM announced it will provide free access to its supercomputing platforms to scientists studying climate change and related issues.

The initiative will help scientists conduct their research in IBM’s high-performing computing environment. Each approved project will have access to up to 100,000 years of computing time at a value of $60 million.

The projects will be supported by IBM’s philanthropic World Community Grid platform, the company said. The platform harnesses the unused cycle time of volunteers’ computers and mobile devices. Participants get involved by downloading software that runs when they take breaks or work on lightweight computer tasks, such as browsing the internet.  The software receives, completes, and returns small computational assignments to scientists.

IBM supercomputing

Scientists can submit proposals to receive this free resource. IBM also invites members of the public to donate their unused computing power to these efforts.

World Community Grid has been engaged in a number of sustainability initiatives across the globe. Some of them include partnerships with University of Virginia on Computing for Sustainable Water, Harvard University’s Clean Energy Project, University of Washington on Nutritious Rice for the World, and more.

The latest effort coincides with the Climate Data initiative announced by President Obama.

“Through his Climate Data Initiative, President Obama is calling for all hands on deck to unleash data and technology in ways that will make businesses and communities more resilient to climate change,” said John P. Holdren, president Obama’s Science Advisor.

“The commitments being announced today answer that call by empowering the U.S. and global agricultural sectors with the tools and information needed to keep food systems strong and secure in a changing climate,” Holdren added.

“Massive computer power is as essential to modern-day scientific research as test tubes and telescopes,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and president, IBM International Foundation. “But due to scarce funding for research, pioneering scientists often don’t have access to supercomputers vast enough to meet their research objectives.”

“At IBM, we hope that the equivalent of 100,000 years of computing time per scientist will speed the next major breakthrough to help the world meet the challenge of climate change,” Litow added.

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