California Science & Technology News

Latin American Grid Initiative

Building upon the company's effort to foster world class research and create leadership opportunities for Hispanic students in information technology and engineering, IBM announced it is teaming with Florida International University, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, University of Miami, Barcelona Supercomputing Center and Monterrey Tech to invest in the Latin American Grid initiative.

The LA Grid (pronounced "lah grid") program will link faculty, students and researchers from the world renowned IBM T.J. Watson Research Centers across the United States, Latin America and Spain to collaborate on innovative industry projects for applications in areas such as health care, life sciences and nanotechnology; and in regionally-specific concerns like hurricane mitigation. The use of a shared research and educational platform based on grid computing technology is made possible through Shared University Research awards intended to foster collaborative research and innovation between academia and industry.

IBM announced the program at a university kick-off event at Florida International University December 16, one of the founding partners. Representatives from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, University of Miami, Monterrey Tech and those working with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center in Spain were also on hand to mark the occasion.

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In addition to the unique opportunity to work on advanced grid technology, students will benefit from IBM sponsored internships, mentoring and diversity programs. According to the Computing Research Association 2003-2004 Taulbee Survey, Hispanics currently represent only 3.9 percent, 1.1 percent and 1.1 percent of the computer science graduates at BS, MS and Ph.D. levels from research universities in the U.S., respectively. LA Grid is aimed at preparing Hispanic students for leadership in the information technology arena and stimulating local economies by attracting technology businesses and jobs across the regions, in particular in the State of Florida.

The investment between IBM and the universities in the LA Grid program includes the following initiatives:
  • Collaborative research projects in the emerging areas of grid technology and leading industry applications for health care and life sciences.

  • IBM donated BladeCenter technologies with attached fiber channel storage to Florida International University and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez to seed the LA Grid information technology infrastructure at both universities. This equipment includes a BladeCenter chassis, six dual processor Intel Xeon-based blade servers, and two dual processor POWER-based blade servers, integrated fiber channel switch option and fiber channel storage. Additionally, IBM is providing middleware and infrastructure software including free licensing of its Load Leveler software, WebSphere, and DB2 Universal Database.

  • Opportunities for students to benefit from IBM sponsored education, one-to-one mentoring, and internships for Hispanic students pursuing careers in information technology.

  • The advancement of Hispanics in research and graduate university programs, yielding IT professional skills at MS and PhD levels, to infuse the technology sector with talent developed from a historically underrepresented community.

  • A growing consortium of universities, businesses and local governments jointly working together to address economic and social issues for their communities. The LA Grid program currently consists of five partners, and is expected to grow with new university partners in the year ahead.

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