CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a significant investment that will enable the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory to house the world’s most advanced supercomputers. Financed by $70 million in bonds issued by the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA), the new Theory and Computing Sciences Building will be located on Argonne’s campus in DuPage County. The new world-class facility will allow Illinois scientists to apply breakthroughs in supercomputing and pursue advances in nanotechnology, climate change, protein modeling and more, solidifying the fastest growing research program in Argonne’s history.
"This world-class project, which will happen here in Illinois, will help scientists propel the American leadership in technology and engineering for decades to come. I want to commend Argonne National Laboratory and the Department of Energy for their far-reaching vision and the Illinois Finance Authority for helping to support this project," Gov. Blagojevich said.
Located on the boundary of Argonne’s secure perimeter, the approximately 200,000-square-foot facility will be home to over 600 laboratory employees and will house research groups using one of the fastest computers—the IBM Blue Gene/P—to answer huge scientific questions.
Additionally, the facility will include an 18,000-square-foot centralized library, computational research labs and a conference center.
"We have worked diligently with our colleagues in the State of Illinois to leverage the economics of this innovative model of federal, state, and private sector cooperation and appreciate the Governor’s and the State’s support in advancing Argonne’s contribution to science," said Dr. Robert Rosner, Argonne’s laboratory director.
The Illinois Finance Authority issued the bonds that will provide financing for the project to a Delaware Statutory Trust, as part of a public-private financing and leasing agreement thought to be the first of its kind. By allowing private sector market forces to bear strongly in this process, this new facility should save the government over $10 million in life cycle cost savings.
"Financing this facility will strengthen a world-renowned science center; it will further build our Illinois Technology and Research Corridor and stimulate positive growth in Illinois. Spurring economic growth and leadership is a mission Governor Blagojevich has given IFA to accomplish, and that is what we are doing," said IFA Executive Director Kym M. Hubbard.
Under the terms of the arrangement, DOE will lease the land to the trust. The trust will hire a designer/builder. Responsibility for payment of the Series 2007 Bonds will lie with the trust.
"From its very beginning, computing has been an aid to the advancement of science; however, somewhere along the line there was a sea change. Computing is no longer just an aid, it is essential to almost every aspect of science and engineering across all disciplines," said Michael Turner, Argonne’s chief scientist. "By focusing on the most challenging problems, this facility will enable breakthroughs across the broad frontier of science and engineering, benefiting both science and society. While we can imagine some of the breakthroughs that will come early on, we can only dream about those that will come over the long lifetime of this facility."
Gov. Blagojevich has supported over $93 million in funding for projects at Argonne National Laboratory since the beginning of his administration. Among these important technology projects are the Center for Nanoscale Materials, the Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility and I-WIRE. These investments have been part of the Governor’s aggressive strategy to spur scientific and economic growth and create more jobs throughout Northeast Illinois.
Argonne National Laboratory, a renowned R&D center, brings the world’s brightest scientists and engineers together to find exciting and creative new solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the Energy’s Office of Science.