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SOMERS, N.Y., March 20--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IBM and the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Physics Laboratory today announced a three-year cooperative research and development agreement to develop parallel atomic physics software for IBM's Scalable POWERparallel Systems(a) SP2(a) high-performance, parallel processing computer.

NIST and IBM researchers plan to exploit the computational abilities of the SP2 to develop new approaches to accurately predicting the properties and behaviors of heavy elements. This information will facilitate the design of new products and materials, such as x-ray lasers, pollution detectors, mercury-free lamps, catalysts and other new materials containing rare-earth elements. In order for such products to perform properly, product engineers must have information on the behavior of these elements, which is often very difficult to determine experimentally.

With the development of parallel algorithms, scientists will be able to run applications in a fraction of the time it previously took. "We expect computations that took weeks to calculate will be completed in hours with the use of the SP2," said Dr. Ajaya Mohanty, one of IBM's principal investigators.

As part of the collaboration, IBM will provide expertise to NIST in application enablement and development for parallel algorithms and NIST scientists will have access to both their own and IBM's parallel computers. In addition, IBM will be able to incorporate the resulting algorithms into software solutions for molecular physics on the SP2. NIST scientists will access the SP2 through the Internet, and IBM will provide support in the same fashion.

"This is an excellent opportunity for IBM to tap into NIST's world-renown expertise in the areas of atomic and molecular physics," said Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, general manager, IBM POWER Parallel Division. "By creating high-powered parallel applications to run NIST algorithms, IBM and NIST will lay the groundwork for gaining a new understanding of the properties of heavy elements and how they will behave in new products and materials."

Cooperative research and development agreements such as this one typically cover joint research efforts in which both NIST and the cooperating company provide staff, equipment and facilities in any number of possible combinations for a project of mutual interest. NIST focuses on collaborative tasks vital to the country's technology infrastructure that neither industry nor government can do separately.

"One of NIST's major roles is making investments for long-term economic growth," said Dr. Yong-Ki Kim, a principal investigator at NIST's Atomic Physics Division. "This joint project with IBM is an excellent example of government working with U.S. high technology companies to push the frontiers of industrial development by sharing knowledge and resources gained through basic research."

The SP2 is IBM's general-purpose, high-performance parallel processing computer that runs AIX(a), IBM's UNIX(b) operating system. It combines the numeric-intensive processing capabilities of scientific and technical computers with the vast data storage and complex analysis strengths typical of commercial information processing systems -- making the SP2 particularly well-suited for solving extremely complex problems in science and industry.

Parallel processing on the IBM SP2 links together from two to 512 IBM RISC System/6000(a)(RS/6000(a)) processors to perform numeric-intensive and data-intensive computations. The processors work on different parts of a problem at the same time, enabling the high-performance computer to support many users and analyze massive amounts of data at blazing speeds. The flexibility of the SP2 allows customers to run both parallel and non-parallel applications at the same time.

IBM is a proven leader in high-performance computing in both the scientific/technical and commercial markets. Currently, more than 370 SP systems are installed worldwide.

IBM POWER Parallel Division

IBM produces world-class scalable parallel information and computing systems for commercial and scientific/technical customers. The IBM Scalable POWERparallel Systems SP2, an integral part of the IBM RS/6000 line, features design and performance leadership and offers exceptional reliability and versatility. IBM's recently announced POWER Parallel Division is headquartered in Somers, NY.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

Editors' Note: IBM news releases are available on the Internet, via the IBM Home Page available through web browsers at

The IBM Fax Information Service allows you to receive facsimiles of prior IBM product press releases. Dial 1-800-IBM-4FAX and enter "99" at the voice menu.

(a) Indicates trademark or registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation. Other product names may be trademarks of their respective companies.

(b) UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Limited. IBM AIX version 3.2.5 and IBM AIX version 4.1 are branded X/Open UNIX 93.

CONTACT: Nadine Taylor

Andy Russell

IBM POWER Parallel Division

(914) 766-2458/2407

(914) 766-2740/2407


TSI for IBM:

Rob Anderson

(212) 696-2000


NIST Contacts: Linda Joy

NIST Public Affairs Division

(301) 975-4403
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 20, 1995
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