Mass. Governor Patrick Unveils Collaborative Plan to Build High-Performance Computing Center in Holyoke by 2011

in News Releases, University Affairs
October 21st, 2009

Contact: Phil Gloudemans, 617-353-6546 | philipg@bu.edu
Contact: Kofi Jones, 617-788-3652 | kofi.jones@state.ma.us

(HOLYOKE, Mass.)- Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today joined University of Massachusetts President Dr. Jack Wilson, Holyoke Mayor Michael Sullivan, leaders from Boston University and MIT, and senior executives from EMC, Cisco and Accenture to announce initial construction on Holyoke’s High Performance Computing Center (HPCC) is on track to begin next fall, with a target completion date set for late 2011.

The public-private collaboration, which recently completed a successful 120-day planning process, will establish Massachusetts as a global leader in the development and application of the next generation of computing technologies.

“This center will serve as an anchor of a highly competitive and vibrant innovation district in the Pioneer Valley,” said Governor Patrick. “The potential for job growth and advances in technology and research is unprecedented, and both the center and this collaboration will serve to create long term prosperity for Holyoke and regional economies throughout Western Massachusetts.”

Additional opportunities for collaboration between government and the business community will be a key focus of the Governor’s Economic Summit set to convene on October 27th at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank. He is assembling a cross-section of statewide business, financial, education, and public policy leaders to identify ways to promote long-term economic recovery and job growth throughout the Commonwealth.

“This break out initiative is another indication of Governor Patrick’s keen understand that as a Gateway City, Holyoke deserves to be rewarded and has taken steps to situate itself appropriately to be a working example of how urban core communities can be transformed,” said Mike Sullivan, Mayor of Holyoke. “This collaborative effort to create a technology district in the heart of Holyoke will have significant benefit for the region, from new businesses to existing businesses, from community colleges to universities, from entry level job seekers to those with significant experience, the bell has sounded today for all of us make it happen and it will.”

Announced by the Governor and the collaborative partners on June 11, 2009, the project will create a world-class, green high performance computing center in Holyoke that will provide an infrastructure for research computing and a collaborative research agenda in advanced computing and applications such as life sciences, clean energy, and green computing. The center will catalyze the development of an innovation district in downtown Holyoke, powered by green and cost-competitive energy.

“Boston University strongly and enthusiastically supports the partnership and its objectives,” said BU President Robert A. Brown. “This project symbolizes a new level of collaboration among academic institutions, public industry, and government, and will likely serve as a hallmark of the innovation landscape of the future.”

“We are delighted to be working with the Commonwealth’s universities, businesses, and government on an exciting plan to bring state-of-the-art computing capability to the region. The development of the Holyoke High Performance Computing Center will capitalize on local sources of green power as it inspires productive new partnerships that will foster the Commonwealth’s innovation economy,” said MIT President Susan Hockfield.

“We have created an unprecedented partnership that is determined to convert an audacious idea into a tangible and enduring reality. While we have important work to complete, I am more hopeful than ever that we will achieve our goal and will create a green High Performance Computing Center that will power the state’s innovation economy and be a driving force for economic renewal and growth in the Pioneer Valley. I thank Governor Patrick for his steadfast leadership on this issue and for advancing an economic vision that so clearly has research, discovery, and innovation at its core,” said University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson.

“As a company headquartered in Massachusetts for 30 years, EMC values the state’s rich technology-driven heritage and innovative spirit, its world-class educational institutions, and its vibrant, skilled technical workforce,” said Chris Goode, EMC’s Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs & Public Policy. “We’re looking forward to working together to bring the HPCC to Western Massachusetts.”

“We applaud and appreciate the tremendous amount of work that has occurred over the last 120 days from the diverse and exceptional list of partners – both public and private – involved in this initiative which has enabled us to be at a point where we can now announce the taking of this next tangible and important step. Once this project is completed, we have no doubt that our regional science, technology, and innovation leadership and vision will be greatly enhanced through the creation of this unique smart and connected “innovation district” built upon green and cost competitive energy, strong local talent, and exceptional fiber connectivity,” said Paul Bosco, VP/GM & Site Executive, New England Development Center, Cisco.

Over the next 120 days, the project partners will work to move forward to the next stage of development. Steps will include the design and site acquisition activities and securing the state, federal, industry, and university resources required to commence development. They will also continue to proceed with on gathering the necessary capital for the project. The partners’ common objective is to begin construction in the fall for occupancy late in 2011.

At the time of the original announcement, the project partners signed a Letter of Intent to create within 120 days a working plan with the ultimate goal of building and opening the new facility and forming a statewide research agenda. Since that time, considerable progress has been made, including:

• The establishment of an organizational model and business structure for current and future partners.
• The creation of preliminary building designs, energy efficiency targets, and a schedule for design and construction.
• Through collaboration with industry and local community college leaders, the development of a shared research agenda and education and outreach.
• The creation of an operating budget for developing the facility with capital costs identified.
• The partners have also succeeded in raising well over half the project’s costs and have pledged to continue to work together to secure the remaining funds.

Congressman John Olver said, “This is a cutting edge concept, and its impact on the city will be significant. 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.”

“The prospect of this major initiative has provided renewed optimism in the City of Holyoke,” said Senator Michael R. Knapik. “The City is proud of its industrial heritage and prepared to move forward as a leader in a new economy. Many people locally have worked hard to bring this project to the table and I am pleased their efforts and Holyoke’s strengths have been recognized in Boston.”

“I am excited for Holyoke, the region, and the Commonwealth” said Representative Michael F. Kane. “I applaud the Governor, the Mayor, and their economic development teams for putting this together in a short period of time. I look forward to assisting with any legislative help that is needed.”

In addition, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and City of Holyoke have worked with the John Adams Innovation Institute and Ten Minute Media to develop a project website, InnovateHolyoke.com. The site, which was launched today, is the official destination for the latest information related to the center and is part of a wider effort to involve Holyoke residents and surrounding communities through outreach forums and the launch of the Innovation District Design and Development Program. This program will bring together residents, businesses, and civic leaders to put in place the programs and investments that will lead to job growth and employment opportunities spurred by the presence of the high performance computing center.

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