Massachusetts Collaborative Announces Intention to Build a World-Class Green High-Performance Computer Center and Statewide Research Program in Holyoke

HOLYOKE Governor Deval Patrick, Dr. Susan Hockfield, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Jack M. Wilson, President, University of Massachusetts, Dr. Robert Brown, President, Boston University, Joseph M. Tucci, Chairman, President & CEO, EMC, and John T. Chambers, Chairman & CEO, Cisco Systems today announced a collaboration that will lead to the development of a world-class high-performance computing center in Holyoke, and a statewide collaborative research program. Additionally, the center will be powered by green alternative energy. This announcement positions Massachusetts as a leader in the application and development of the next generation of computing technologies, and will create an innovation economy district in Holyoke powered by green and cost-competitive energy.

“Innovation is our calling card in Massachusetts, and this partnership with MIT, the University of Massachusetts, Boston University, EMC and Cisco Systems will usher in the next generation of high performance computing and set us apart from our competitors,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “The potential for breakthrough technologies and research is enormous, and both the center and this collaboration will undoubtedly serve to lift up the City of Holyoke and regional economies throughout Western Massachusetts.”

High-performance computing has become an increasingly critical tool for both academic and corporate research across a variety of fields – ranging from breakthrough drug development in the life sciences to the discovery of alternative materials for clean energy. This first of its kind center in New England and collaborative statewide research agenda will provide the necessary competitive advantage to ensure the state’s leadership in cutting-edge scientific and technological research.

“Many of today’s most important technical challenges will yield only to the power of high-performance computing, from modeling climate change to managing a massively complex ‘smart grid’ and developing novel materials for 21st century technologies, from biomedicine to batteries,” said MIT President Susan Hockfield. “At MIT, we’re committed to help drive the effort to deliver state-of-the-art computing performance to universities and companies across the region, through aggressive development of the Holyoke HPCC. Built to capitalize on local sources of green power, it will provide new opportunities for partnerships among private industry, government and the academy, and foster the Commonwealth’s innovation-based economy.”

“The creation of a High Performance Computing Center will advance the Commonwealth’s status as a global research and innovation leader and will spur the state’s ideas-driven economy,” said University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson. “That this High Performance Computing Center would be conspicuously green, relying on wind and hydro power to meet its considerable energy needs, adds luster to what is a truly exciting project.”

This agreement is the continuation of a collaboration first established at a meeting convened last October between university leaders at MIT and UMass, industry executives from EMC and Cisco, and the Commonwealth, all of whom have worked collectively in support of a center and research agenda that would have multiple functions and benefits to the state’s innovation economy, workforce, academic and research community, and support the Commonwealth’s overall competitive edge.

“The process of innovation truly thrives when government, education and private industry lock arms as one,” said Joe Tucci, EMC chairman, president and CEO. “Working together, the Holyoke High-Performance Computing Center (HPCC) is tapping into a whole new source of vision and innovation, and keeping Massachusetts at the forefront as a global technology leader.”

The Patrick Administration, MIT, the University of Massachusetts, Boston University, EMC, and Cisco have all signed an agreement committing to work collaboratively over the next 120 days to create an action plan with the ultimate goal of building and opening the new facility and forming the statewide research agenda. The plan will be assisted, in part by John Adams Innovation Institute and the local collaboration of Mayor Sullivan and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and will seek to identify the operational, capital, environmental, workforce, and academic elements of the project, along with a project timetable, which will be completed in several phases. Other major institutions and private companies are expected to join in the collaborative effort.

“This is a cutting edge concept, and its impact on the city will be significant,” said Congressman John Olver. “The Computing Center will dovetail nicely with other big projects underway in Holyoke like the Multimodal Center and the Canalwalk; this is a very exciting time for the city.”

“This is an incredible opportunity for this Gateway City to re-invent itself and Holyoke cannot thank Governor Patrick and his economic development team enough for being our advocates,” stated Mayor Michael Sullivan. “I have long spoken to the issue of the ‘Holyoke advantage’, the difference is that Governor Patrick listened and understood how the City and the State could leverage their assets to create something powerful; it is a beautiful day in Holyoke.”

“This is an absolute game-changer for Holyoke, the Pioneer Valley, Western Massachusetts and the entire Commonwealth,” said Representative Michael Kane. “I deeply appreciate the commitment of the Governor, the Presidents of the Universities and the CEO’s of the companies to make this a reality and very much look forward to partnering with them all.”