IBM donates top undergraduate computing capability to Union College

Publication Date

BM is donating one of its Intelligent Cluster computing solutions to Union College, providing the school with the greatest computing capability of any undergraduate liberal arts college in the nation.

The announcement was made Saturday at the dedication of the College’s new Peter Irving Wold Center. The $22 million, three-story, 35,000-square-foot building housing interdisciplinary research facilities, classroom space and an advanced computing lab is the latest milestone in Union’s long history of integrating engineering with the traditional liberal arts and sciences.

John E. Kelly III ’76, senior vice president of IBM

John E. Kelly III ’76, senior vice president of IBM

“Union College is a leader in educating students - and performing research - at the intersection of liberal arts, science and engineering,” said Bernie Meyerson, IBM Fellow and vice president of Innovation. “That’s one of the reasons we're so excited about our collaboration with Union, which is focused on expanding the use of deep analytics and computer-driven discovery and helping drive successful education and research projects over several years.”

The high-performance computing cluster, which consists of 88 servers and more than 1,000 individual processors, will be housed in the College’s data center. The College expects to install the computing system this summer.

Initial users of the computing cluster are expected to include faculty and students in biology, chemistry, classics, engineering, geosciences and physics. Areas of study will include three Smarter Planet courses focused on energy, sustainability and buildings, analytics, and open building environments. Joint research projects between IBM and the college will focus on Neuroscience Imaging as well as installing sensors and collecting environmental data along the Mohawk River.

“We always envisioned the Wold Center as a catalyst for innovation, creativity and the integration of disciplines,” said Union President Stephen C. Ainlay. “The computing cluster not only complements the exciting work going on at the Wold Center, it advances our role as a pioneer in liberal education. Partnerships with global leaders such as IBM give Union students access to the kinds of hands-on opportunities that prepare them to tackle real-world problems.”

“This gift will provide a robust infrastructure to support and enhance current faculty research, enabling faculty to ask broader or deeper questions and work with larger amounts of information,” said Ellen Yu Borkowski, Union’s chief information officer. “It also supports Union’s efforts to integrate computation in creative ways throughout our curriculum.”

Union College, founded in 1795 as the first college chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, offers programs in the liberal arts and engineering to 2,100 undergraduates of high academic promise and strong personal motivation. Union, with its long history of blending disciplines, is a leader in educating students to be engaged, innovative and ethical contributors to an increasingly diverse, global and technologically complex society.