President Obama Honors NNSA Supercomputing Partnership with Top Presidential Technology Award

Press Release
Oct 7, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Barack Obama today presented the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to IBM's Blue Gene series of computers, developed in partnership with the National Nuclear Security Administration. The award, the nation's most prestigious honor for innovators in technological achievement, was presented by the President at a White House ceremony.

Originally developed to provide the capability to maintain the safety, security and reliability of an aging nuclear stockpile without testing, the first computer in the Blue Gene series, Blue Gene/L, was developed through a partnership with NNSA's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The Blue Gene architecture has since been replicated and employed in some of the fastest supercomputers in the world.

In 2004, the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, which houses a second generation Blue Gene/P system, and IBM jointly created the Blue Gene Consortium, an international group of laboratory, university and industrial researchers collaborating to evaluate the technology and platform and provide critical feedback for future Blue Gene designs.

"The Blue Gene supercomputers are an outstanding example of our investment in nuclear security providing the tools to tackle broader national challenges," said NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino. "This machine, which was originally developed to ensure the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile without testing, has led to amazing advances in science and discovery. I congratulate IBM, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory for a job well done."

Blue Gene systems have helped map the human genome, investigated medical therapies, replicated brain power, pinpointed tumors and predicted climate trends.

In addition to its many applications, Blue Gene represents tremendous progress in energy efficiency because it dramatically shrank the physical size and energy needs of a computing system whose processing speed would have required a dedicated power plant capable of generating power to thousands of homes.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation's national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. Visit http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/ for more information.

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