DATE: Friday, May 17, 2002
TIME: 12 Noon to 1:00 pm

Winfried W. Wilcke
IBM Almaden

IceCube Project

IceCube is an experimental server project at IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, CA. It is based on Lego-like storage and/or compute 'bricks', which are stacked to form an extremely compact server. The true 3-dimensional structure imposes both interesting challenges and opportunities. The opportunities are that it is possible to implement a very fast and low cost network fabric within the cube, reduce floorspace by a large factor and cleanly solve the challenging thermal problems of a big server installation. As it is not practical to remove bricks deep within an IceCube for maintenance, the entire software architecture revolves around the principle that modules are allowed to "fail in place". This challenge, however, is a blessing in disguise, as it forces the architecture to be far more reliant on automatic management of the system than more conventional systems. In a sense this is an architecture which is designed from the ground up to apply some of the more obvious ideas of autonomic computing. Presently, a small 3x3x3 storage server prototype with about 30 TB capacity is being built in Almaden.

W.W.Wilcke is a Program Director at IBM Almaden Research. His 1976 PhD is in experimental nuclear physics, which led to his interest in very large scale computing. In the eighties, he managed some of the IBM Yorktown Multiprocessor projects (Victor and Vulcan) which were the fore-runners of the IBM SP series of scientific computers. In the nineties, he headed the HAL architecture group, which, in close collaboration with SUN, created the 64-bit Sparc architecture and, later, very fast switches for Fujitsu. He spent significant time sailing tropical waters before re-joining IBM Research in California. There he worked with Transmeta on low power computing before starting the IceCube project in 2001.

For Further Seminar Info: