SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich praised today’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $25 million in funding to a project involving Argonne National Laboratory, located just outside Chicago, for the construction of a 50 teraflop (50 trillion calculations per second) science research supercomputer. Cray Corporation, IBM Corporation and Silicon Graphics, Inc. are development partners in this supercomputer that will be open to the scientific community for research. In addition to this recent award, the President’s Fiscal Year 2005 request for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science includes an additional $25 million for such a capability. Supporting the Argonne National Laboratory will be a key component of Governor Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns initiative for the Northeast region – his soon-to-be-unveiled regional economic development plan designed to create jobs and spur economic growth in the region and throughout the state.
“This project helps to illustrate the importance of the federal government and its national laboratories, state government and the private sector collaborating to advance important scientific discovery,” said Governor Blagojevich. “I want to congratulate Dr. Hermann Grunder, Director of Argonne National Laboratory, and all of the hardworking, dedicated scientists, engineers and researchers at the laboratory for their role in this critical project. Illinois has a long history of innovation, and this is just one more example of the talent that makes this innovation possible.”
The supercomputer will be located in a National Leadership Computing Facility to be constructed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. As part of this effort, Argonne National Laboratory expects to install a 5-teraflop IBM BlueGene computer. The BlueGene architecture is a core component of the project’s hardware path, both to engage the widest possible range of applications and to explore promising technologies for next generation leadership-class machines. Argonne will lead the BlueGene deployment and evaluation activities. This will provide a new tool for researchers to have to access to a high speed computational network that should help accelerate their research, which could then lead to an unprecedented level of commercialization creating new companies and jobs in Illinois.
“This is another tremendous example of why Illinois continues to produce the cutting edge technologies that are making an enormous impact throughout the scientific community and the industrial sector. Argonne continues to be a pioneer, and the Governor is thrilled to be able to partner with this laboratory today because the research that is produced here has and will continue to changes lives for the better,” Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin said.
Through Opportunity Returns, Governor Blagojevich will continue to fund several crucial Argonne projects. He has already committed $34 million for the construction of the Center for Nanoscale Materials and $13 million for the construction of the Rare Isotope Accelerator Science Center.
Argonne National Laboratory is the nation’s first national laboratory, chartered in 1946. Today, Argonne has more than 4,000 employees and an annual operating budget of nearly a half billion dollars. Its research falls into four broad categories – basic science, scientific facilities (including the Advanced Photon Source, Intense Pulse Neutron Source and Tandem Linear Accelerator System), energy resources and environmental management.
The Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region. Each plan is tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from. The Governor has already unveiled plans for six of the ten regions – Northern Stateline, Northwest, Southern, North Central, Southwest and West Central regions. He will announce the plans for the East Central, Southeast, Central and Northeast regions in the coming months.