The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the University of the Philippines (UP) and IBM have announced that the world-renowned IBM Blue Gene supercomputer has been chosen to support the Philippine government's priority R&D projects focused on reducing poverty, improving government processes and tools and enabling smarter weather management, as based on the National Economic Development Authority's Medium Term Development Plan. A priority initiative around weather prediction will be the pilot project to use the IBM Blue Gene supercomputer as its platform.

A milestone among government-private-academe endeavors, the supercomputer soon to arrive in the country will provide high performance computing capabilities to help develop practical solutions to address the country's basic problems. The IBM Blue Gene supercomputer is set to be the platform for select R&D projects that are aligned with the country's strategic growth initiative to advance poverty alleviation; transparency in the government; rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth; peace and order and environment and climate change mitigation.

"This is a direct result from the agreement between the DOST and IBM in May 2012, to jointly build a Philippine Systems and Technology R&D Lab to help accelerate national economic growth," said Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, President and Country General Manager, IBM Philippines. "It is IBM's response to President Aquino's call for help to support research and development projects to enable transformation and progress in the country. The IBM Blue Gene supercomputer is our concrete contribution to advance R&D initiatives in the country."

A priority R&D project, the DOST and IBM will collaborate on how the supercomputer can complement DOST's Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards or Project NOAH, the government's flagship program and integrated information system for disaster mitigation and climate change. The IBM supercomputer will enable local scientists to process and gain insights from the massive data collected, to produce faster, more accurate forecasts and improve localized weather prediction for the country. Prone to natural disasters, the country will benefit greatly once this projected is completed, as citizens and various government agencies can better prepare and plan what to do and what emergency response programs to activate, if and when a weather-related disaster occurs.

"The IBM Blue Gene supercomputer will be most applicable to DOST's major programs such as NOAH and Smart Agriculture, "said DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo. "First we will work toward Blue Gene's integration to Project NOAH to provide more advanced seven-day local weather forecasts. We can also use it to run various weather models and validate the accuracy of results almost real-time."

"Smart Agriculture, the newest flagship program of the DOST, will also gain from our newest supercomputing capability in modeling climate change scenarios, building database for agricultural land use, and computing for monthly irrigation requirements per province," Sec. Montejo added.

Other possible projects to be aided by the IBM Blue Gene supercomputer include flood management and genomics.

The announcement was one of the many highlights of the 2013 IBM Technology Conference and Expo, wherein IBM showcased new Smarter Computing solutions which forms the foundation of a smarter IT infrastructure that powers a Smarter Planet. Smarter Computing is an approach that leverages cloud technology to speed time to market and improve efficiency; that unlocks the power of data to deliver more actionable insight; and that secures critical information to reduce risk and enhance compliance to enable organizations to transform, innovate and grow their businesses.