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Moscow State University and IBM announce supercomputing collaboration

Leading Russian university partners with IBM to conduct nanotechnology research on Blue Gene supercomputer

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Moskow, Russia — 24 Oct 2008: Moscow State University (MSU) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today signed an agreement to conduct joint research into nanotechnology using a Blue Gene/P supercomputer installed at the Department of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics. Advanced mathematical modelling and the huge computational power of the Blue Gene/P supercomputer will allow researchers from MSU and IBM Research - Zurich to perform cutting-edge research into new types of nano-scale circuitry which could one day lead to a radically new type of computing device.

The first project of collaboration between the university and IBM will be to understand the behavior of nanomolecular switches under various conditions. Nanomolecular switches could one day form a viable alternative to today's transistors — the building block of microchips and the basis for almost all electronics. Due to their "nano" size, nanomolecular switches could allow for new generations of compact and powerful computing devices.

As part of the agreement, MSU and IBM researches will work side-by-side on a Blue Gene supercomputer at the Department of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics in Moscow. The department installed two racks of the Blue Gene/P system, which the university bought early in 2008. Each of the racks contains 1024 quad-core processors with a total peak performance of 27,8 GFLOPS.

"As Russia's leading university, it is important for MSU to partner with one of the world's most advanced scientific laboratories which is well known for its ability to commercialise and industrialise the latest scientific achievements," said Viktor Sadovnichiy, Rector of Moscow State University. "This partnership will allow our best researchers to benefit from the skills and experience at IBM Research - Zurich and together tackle problems of national and global interest".

IBM researchers from the Zurich Research Laboratory have already demonstrated the viability of the molecular switch, but the concept of using molecules as electronic components is still in its infancy. In order to use molecules as the building blocks for more complex molecular devices that could serve as logic elements in an electronic circuit, a deep understanding of its properties is needed. Here computational science comes into play. Highly sophisticated simulations on massively parallel supercomputers are suited to reveal the behavior of complex nanosystems.

"MSU offers a unique pool of excellent theoretical knowledge and mathematical skills that are difficult to find elsewhere," said Matthias Kaiserswerth, Director of IBM Research - Zurich. "Together with IBM's supercomputing know-how, the joint research effort will advance computational science to a truly new level".

Computational Science has become instrumental in pushing forward the frontiers of research and innovation in an increasing number of key fields such as nanotechnology, biology, engineering or finance and risk. Many of these areas are of interest for both institutions and for the long-term the collaboration is expected to exploit their different and unique expertise not only in nanotechnology but also in other fields in which advanced simulation can help to understand very complex problems.

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Press contact

Nicole Strachowski
Media Relations
IBM Research - Zurich
Tel +41 44 724 84 45

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