IBM flexes its supercomputer muscle

Under a new $10 million deal, Big Blue will create a grid supercomputer based on 37 eServers for a scientific research center in Germany--the country's largest, according to IBM.

John G. Spooner Staff Writer, CNET News.com
John Spooner
covers the PC market, chips and automotive technology.
John G. Spooner
IBM said Thursday that it inked a deal to build Germany's largest supercomputer to date.

The new computer, worth well over $10 million, was purchased by Germany's Juelich Research Center and will be installed next year at its Central Institute for Applied Mathematics, otherwise known as ZAM.

There, scientists from a number of disciplines will use the supercomputer to conduct research in physics, chemistry, life sciences and environmental sciences.

The new computer, which will be based on 37 IBM eServer p690 systems using IBM's Power4 processor, will offer a peak performance of 5.8 teraflops, meaning it will be capable of making 5.8 trillion mathematical computations per second.

According to IBM, the boost in computing power will give researchers at ZAM 13 times more performance than they have available from their fastest system.

The new agreement is the latest in a string of supercomputer deals landed by IBM this year.

Indeed, thanks to research projects in biotechnology and to government spending, the adoption of supercomputers has grown, helping boost not only research but also the bottom lines of companies such as IBM, which build the machines.

Once the new supercomputer is built, it will become a part of Germany's grid of supercomputers and ultimately connect with Europe's supercomputing grid, IBM said.