Winfried Wilcke

Winfried Wilcke

Sr. Manager, Nanoscale, Science & Technology; Pgm Director, Silicon Valley

IBM Research Division

Winfried W. Wilcke works at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California.

He received a Ph.D. in experimental nuclear physics in 1976 from the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Frankfurt, Germany, and worked at the University of Rochester, Lawrence Berkeley Lab and Los Alamos on heavy-ion and muon induced nuclear reactions. In 1983 he joined IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, where he worked initially on VLSI RISC CPU design and then played a key role in convincing IBM to build very scalable message-passing supercomputers, which then was an extremely controversial point of view. He became senior manager in charge of the Victor and Vulcan projects, which were the precursors of the very successful IBM SP message-passing supercomputer product line. Today, all the very fast supercomputers in the world -like the IBM Blue Gene- are all based on this computational model.

In 1991, Wilcke joined HAL Computer Systems as a very early employee. He was initially Director of Architecture and later CTO. HAL was instrumental in creating - jointly with Sun Microsystems- the 64-bit Sparc architecture, which has been the foundation of Sun’s and Fujitsu RISC system businesses since 1996. Today, the HAL Sparc64 processor architecture is now in its 5th generation and used by both Fujitsu and Sun. Two years after the sale of HAL to Fujitsu, Wilcke retired and embarked on an extended tropical sailing voyage, but in the late nineties, he missed the excitement of ‘high tech’ and rejoined IBM Research in California. In 2001, he launched the IBM IceCube project, a highly scalable ‘brick’ architecture for dataintensive computing and storage. This technology formed the basis for Seval Systems, Inc., a venturecapital funded spin-out from IBM Research, led by him as CTO and acting CEO. In 2008, he returned to lead research in physics, and is currently engaged as manager in a wide variety of nano-scale activities in data storage and new computer architectures.

His recent personal research activity has been focused on energy storage, which he passionately believes has the potential to become the biggest game changer for energy independence and as a key enabler of a renewable energy economy. This led to the launch of Battery 500 project.

Wilcke is co-author of over 120 publications in physics and computer architecture, authored an anthology (Random Walk) and has numerous patents issued. He has been program chair or chairman over multiple conferences, including Compcon and Hot Chips and the 2009 IBM conference on scalable Energy Storage.

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Nano Science and Technology Institute

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