Energy hires IBM, Corning for supercomputing optics

Department of Energy

The Energy Department awarded $20 million to the team of IBM Corp. and Corning Inc. to develop high-speed interconnects for supercomputers.

According to IBM officials, the agreement calls for a 30-month program to produce high-speed, optically switched interconnects that are designed to link clusters of computers together into a single machine.

The two companies will work with DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration on the project.

This program is aimed at increasing network bandwidth by 50 times while decreasing the cost of supercomputers. Optical technology involves equipment that sends information encoded as pulses of light, which far surpasses the limits of electronic data transmission.

Corning's Science and Technology Division will develop a prototype of an optically switched interconnect that could replace traditional copper cables and electronic switches with a scalable, optical network.

IBM Research Labs will provide the system's electronic control and monitoring circuitry, and will assist with the integration of the optical interconnect modules provided by Corning.

Supercomputers provide researchers the capability to simulate systems and processes that are too large for normal computing technology. These simulations include weather forecasting, drug design and film animation.

"Driving to exceed 1 petaflop, or one quadrillion operations per second, will enable researchers to break down new barriers in life sciences, weather prediction and defense," said Tilak Agerwala, vice president of systems at the IBM Watson Research Center.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.