Winfried Wilcke  Winfried Wilcke photo       

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Sr. Mgr, Nanoscale Science & Technology and Distinguished Research Staff Member
Almaden Research Center, San Jose, CA, USA



Winfried Wilcke (PhD) is the Senior Manager for Nanoscale Science&Technology and a Distinguished Research Staff Member at the IBM Research Center in San Jose, CA. He is co-author of over 120 publications in nuclear physics, computer architecture and energy, including a 2008 collection of stories ( Random Walk at Amazon)and patents in computer engineering. Wilcke has been chair of multiple conferences, including Compcon, Hot Chips and founder of the ‘Beyond Lithium Ion’ conference series. 

Wilcke received a Ph.D. in experimental nuclear physics in Germany (1976) and worked at the University of Rochester, Lawrence Berkeley Lab and Los Alamos on heavy-ion induced strongly damped and fusion nuclear reactions and meson physics. In 1983 he joined IBM Research in Yorktown Heights,NY, where he played a key role in creating IBM's line of very fast distributed memory supercomputers as the initiator of the Victor experimental supercomputers and senior manager of the Vulcan project. The latter led eventually to the successful IBM SP series of very large supercomputers.

In 1991, Wilcke participated in the startup of HAL Computer Systems, where he was Director of Architecture and later CTO. HAL grew to 450 people before it was purchased by Fujitsu. It was instrumental in creating jointly with Sun Microsystems the 64-bit Sparc architecture, which is now underlying all Sun and Fujitsu Sparc systems. This includes the Fujitsu K-computer, which in early 2012 became the then fastest computer in the world.

In 1996, Wilcke retired temporarily from R&D and embarked on a long tropical sailing/diving voyage, then rejoined IBM Research in California, where, in 2001, he started the IBM IceCube project. IceCube is an unusal modular 3D storage system and became a short-lived IBM spin-out company. In 2008 Wilcke became senior manager of Nanoscale Science & Technology, which includes projects in quantum physics, batteries and machine learning and intelligence.

His recent personal research is focused on cognitive computing and on advanced energy storage, which he passionately believes will be critical for the renewable energy economy. This belief led him to launch the widely publicized IBM Battery 500 project. In the cognitive space, he initiated a new project on machine intelligence - going beyond traditional machine learning - with the goal of building machines which autonomously make predictions from sensory data and act on these. The project includes the building of a specialized neural supercomputer and a walking robot.

His personal interests include flying (he owns a collection of airplanes), sailing, diving and writing.