:Chattanooga; :Nov 24, 2009; :Front Page; :1


UTC, IBM crafting SimCenter alliance

By Joan Garrett jgarrett@timesfreepress.com

Online: Hear IBM’s David Turek discuss supercomputing Read previous stories. Comment. International computing giant IBM is in talks with UTC off icials about forming a signif icant research partnership with the school’s SimCenter.

    The partnership would elevate the SimCenter to national prominence, help draw millions of dollars in research contracts and attract the country’s top computational engineers to Chattanooga, officials said.

    “This gives us a lot of credibility and makes us truly a national center,” said Dr. Henry “Harry” McDonald, chairman of excellence
in computer engineering at the SimCenter. “It’s like the difference between the A league and the B league.”

    On Monday, a delegation from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga met with lawmakers and IBM officials at the fall summit of the Tennessee Valley Technology Corridors meeting in Murfreesboro.

    Hundreds of representatives from colleges, universities and businesses gathered at the meeting to discuss improving innovation and education in the Tennessee Valley region.

    David Turek, vice president of deep computing at IBM, said the SimCenter is collaborating with IBM on a project simulating airplane turbines.

    Researchers are working to design a computer program that would allow them to see how a turbine would work inside a plane while being affected by variables such as altitude or speed, he said.

    Mr. Turek said the company is in talks with UTC about forming a more permanent relationship. There is still no formal agreement, however, and neither party will say how much IBM will be investing in the Sim-Center if an agreement is struck.

    It may be several weeks before IBM makes an official announcement with details about a partnership, Mr. Turek said.

    “We are looking to expand our relationship with UTC,” Mr. Turek said. “We are in serious talks with UTC.”

    Still, the SimCenter has a concentration of human skill in the area of computational engineering that could easily marry with IBM efforts to solve industry problems through computer simulation, he said.

    Mr. Turek said a partnership with UTC would help take computer simulations to the next level.

    For example, the SimCenter and IBM may design a computer program to improve city traffic by controlling traffic lights.

    “We can use computing to create routes and minimize left-hand turns,” he said.

    UTC officials said Mr. Turek, a well-known innovator in the area of computational engineering, approached the SimCenter about working together after hearing about its research initiatives.

    “IBM actually came to the UTC SimCenter because of their broad skill sets,” said John Schaerer, a consultant with the UTC SimCenter who has been in talks with IBM.

    If a partnership agreement is made, several IBM employees would be housed at the SimCenter full-time, Dr. McDonald said.

    The SimCenter also would have access to IBM’s resources, such as its research labs in New York, he said.

    Students working on their master’s or doctorates in computational engineering at the SimCenter would work closely on projects with IBM, said UTC Provost Phil Oldham.

    “It’s huge,” said Dr. Oldham. “You’ll get the top-ofthe-line in students and in faculty.”

    Industries and businesses will follow, said Mr. Schaerer.

    “The SimCenter would become a magnet,” he said. “(This partnership) will be an economic driver for Chattanooga.”

SIMCENTER FAST FACTS

    Solves engineering problems in areas such as hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, propulsion, heat transfer, electromagnetics and computational design optimization through computer modeling and simulation.

    Established in 2002

    Has more than 20 full-time staff and faculty members

    Housed in a 31,000-square foot facility

    Opened in 2003 on Martin Luther King Boulevard

Source: UTC


Harry McDonald






Staff Photo by Tim Barber Wally Edmondson, systems administrator at the Sim-Center: National Center for Computational Engineering, logs in to the centers’ supercomputer from the server room on Monday.