IBM gives $1M dollar supercomputer to new University centre
Published: 11 October 2001
The University of Glasgow and IBM, in a partnership unique in Scotland, have opened a new centre dedicated to designing future generations of ever smaller semiconductor devices.
The University of Glasgow and IBM, in a partnership unique in Scotland, have today opened a new centre dedicated to designing future generations of ever smaller semiconductor devices. The centre will contain one of the most powerful computers to be found in a UK University. Valued at $1M it has been awarded through a Shared University Research Grant from IBM
Professor Asen Asenov, Academic Director of the new Atomistic Device Simulation Centre in the University's Department of Electronics & Electrical Engineering, says: "By simulating what happens in ever-smaller semiconductor devices we will be answering questions and solving problems of global significance to the semiconductor industry as a whole."
The collaboration between IBM and the University in a 'Team Talent' Partnership is unique in Scotland and is one of only six in the UK. The award of the supercomputer was described as "A matter of celebration" by Karine Burns, Semiconductor Manager of Scottish Enterprise. "This is the sort of collaboration we would like to see much more of."
The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (E&EE) is closely aligned with IBM research in the US, sharing a common interest in "Intrinsic Fluctuations in Decanano Silicon Devices". Simply put, as semiconductor devices become smaller, substantial variations in the individual device characteristics can appear which might hamper the device integration. The joint project is aimed at developing 'atomistic' simulation tools to study the parameters and effects of transistor and chip miniaturisation, the heart of every computer chip.
In pursuit of this goal, the Dept. of E&EE of the University of Glasgow, lead by Professor Asen Asenov, has been awarded a Shared University Research Grant from IBM. This includes a large donation of computing equipment and other resources to develop the project in conjunction with IBM.
The application for the Research Grant was led by IBM Fellow Dr. Robert Dennard (who invented MOS memory and the MOSFET scaling law) and was supported by the leading IBM device modelling specialists and senior executives from IBM in the USA and the UK. To facilitate the collaborative research, IBM has donated a 32 node IBM RS/6000 - making it one of the most powerful computers in the UK universities.
Technical support in configuring the system has been provided by Dr. Andy Knox from IBM, Greenock. The partnership is intended to be long term, focussing on mutually beneficial exchange and cooperation in a wide range of subjects.
The relationship between IBM and academia is based on the cutting edge research of the University and a corporate wide IBM programme called Team Talent. The Glasgow University / Team Talent partnership includes two departments: Computing Science and Electrical Engineering. Glasgow is the only Scottish partner within this initiative so far and one of only six Team Talent partnerships in the UK. The IBM partnership executive for the University of Glasgow is Mr. Freddie Moran from the Greenock site.
Professor Asen Asenov, Academic Director of the new centre and Head of the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering at the University of Glasgow, said: "We are delighted to receive this Shared University Research grant from IBM. It not only recognises the very close and productive relationship we have enjoyed with the company but opens up tremendous research opportunities in understanding the fundamental limits that the scaling of the semiconductor devices face in the future. I am sure that the combined efforts of engineers at IBM and the University, working with this new supercomputer, will make a substantial contribution to the design of the next generation devices"
The Principal of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Graeme Davies, said: "It has been obvious for some time that the most productive way to advance technological research in areas such as semiconductors is for the leading experts in industry and the universities to work together. The award of a Shared University Research grant from IBM to the University's Department of Electronics & Electrical Engineering is not only a very generous endorsement of the expertise of our engineers but also provides our engineers with the opportunity of playing a full part in the further development of semiconductor devices with the potential of tremendous economic and social gains for the community." For further information see
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First published: 11 October 2001