LSU Partners with IBM, Deploys Supercomputer to Advance Big Data in Louisiana

Louisiana State University (LSU) was partnered with IBM to deploy its latest supercomputer, Delta, which will be used to advance big data research in Louisiana. The supercomputer will be housed at the LSU Center for Computation & Technology (CCT).

CCT Director Ram Ramanujam says the Center is making targeted investments in data analytics to enable a variety of research endeavors LSU-wide. “We expect significant growth in new areas of research including bioinformatics and cyber security.”

LSU's SuperMike up and running on campus in Baton Rouge in 2002.

LSU’s SuperMike up and running on campus in Baton Rouge in 2002.

Computer scientists with IBM and CCT are working with LSU researchers in the coastal sciences as well. The Delta supercomputer will also be used to expand biomedical research capabilities in the life sciences.

The Delta name references both the Mississippi delta region and the use of the term in the sciences to mean “change,” according to LSU. The new supercomputer is part of a series of ongoing collaborations to facilitate big data research in the state.

Delta is based on the IBM POWER8 platform, which provides High Performance Computing (HPC) capabilities. “The IBM POWER8 processor architecture – open to development and supported by more than 150 members of the OpenPOWER Foundation, including LSU – features a groundbreaking new approach to computing that uses a Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface, or CAPI, to help create powerful solutions that are highly customizable,” reveals LSU.

“The need for large-scale analytics in the scientific community has exploded,” said Ravi Arimilli, IBM Fellow and Chief Architect for Analytics and Big Data Platforms. “The POWER8 platform was designed to meet changing research needs across different domains of science.”

IBM announced it was opening an office in Baton Rouge, home to LSU, in March 2013. Its “services center” provide software development and software maintenance to clients across the country.

“The new research capabilities offered by the IBM Delta supercomputer represent a tremendous opportunity for LSU researchers,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration, which benefits not only our university and IBM, but the entire state of Louisiana.”