IBM forms Deep Computing unit

IBM is creating a new Deep Computing business unit, intended to link together the company's hardware, software and services offerings for intensive computing projects.

The Deep Computing category encompasses tasks requiring extensive computational power, such as drug testing, medical simulations, film animation, data mining, fraud detection and weather modeling. IBM, home of a number of research initiatives like the chess-playing supercomputer "Deep Blue," has long attracted business from customers requiring exceptionally powerful systems, such as government research labs or petroleum exploration firms.

Leading the group will be Dave Turek, an IBM veteran who most recently focused on grid computing and Linux clusters. He reports to IBM Vice President of eServer Systems Mark Shearer

Turek, whose many titles at IBM have in the past included "vice president of Deep Computing," has for years informally coordinated IBM's high-performance computing initiatives, said IBM spokesman Charles Zinkowski. His position at this new organization formalizes that role, Zinkowski said.

The Deep Computing team will work closely with IBM's research groups, and connect relevant offerings from throughout IBM's portfolio, Turek said.

"This is about not just servers, but storage, software and services," he said. "It will offer customers an integrated sales force and strategic focus."

IBM already has several notable customers purchasing its most powerful systems, such as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the development partner and intended recipient of Blue Gene/L, a massive supercomputer scheduled for completion in 2005 that will be used to simulate events such as fires or materials aging.

But as companies' computing needs grow more complex, the opportunities increase to spur sales outside the traditional life sciences market for high-performance computing, Turek said. Operational analysis and digital imaging are two areas in which companies in an array of industries are beginning to need systems built for intensive processing, he noted.

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