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05-26-2005

Clarkson University Student Wins Laptop Computer In IBM North American Grid Scholars Challenge

Robert C. Tompkins, a student at Clarkson University majoring in Computer Science, has won an IBM Thinkpad T-Series model computer as a second-place award for his entry in IBM’s North American Grid Scholars Challenge.

Grid computing enables the virtualization of distributed computing and data resources such as processing, network bandwidth, and storage capacity to create a single system image, granting users and applications seamless access to vast IT capabilities. With grid computing, organizations can optimize computing data resources, pool them for large capacity workloads, share them across networks, and enable collaboration.

TCP/IP is the standard method of communication on the Internet. Although it is extremely reliable and is truly the backbone of the Internet, it lacks certain optimizations required in the world of high performance/grid computing. Tompkins paper proposed replacing TCP/IP with GAMMA (Genoa Active Message Machine) because it provides superior latency and the same bandwidth as a TCP/IP system, at no additional cost. 

According to IBM almost every organization is sitting on top of enormous unused computing capacity, widely distributed. This would be equivalent to an airline with 90% of its fleet on the ground, or an automobile manufacture with 40% of its assembly plants idle, says IBM.  Grid computing helps companies maximize their computing capacity and gain a business advantage.

Tompkins’ paper titled “GAMMA as a TCP/IP Replacement” was evaluated by a panel of qualified judges who awarded points on originality, technical value, completeness and feasibility. Georgia Institute of Technology was also awarded a second-place prize. The State University of New York, Binghamton, won first place. In addition to a “Thinkpad” computer for the student, the winning school received an IBM eServer Cluster 1350 with a retail value of $26,000.  

Clarkson students have had great success in IBM Scholar Challenges. Of the 65 winners in the three-year history of IBM’s Linux Open-Source Computer Operating System competition, only 13 have come from the United States. Four of these winners are from Clarkson. In the first Linux Scholars Challenge, Clarkson also won the overall university prize, a z800 series e-server, valued at approximately $250,000. Tompkins’ win marks the fifth Clarkson University award in an IBM competition since 2001. All five winning entries have been advised by Department of Mathematics and Computer Science Assistant Professor Jeanna N. Matthews.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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