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IBM gets key Hong Kong, Japan orders

Big Blue receives an order for a supercomputer-class machine from a Japanese agency, as well as orders from a Hong Kong government agency for powerful servers.

IBM has received an order for a supercomputer-class machine from a Japanese agency, as well as orders from a Hong Kong government agency for powerful servers, a shot in the arm for Big Blue's high-end computing strategy in the Far East.

IBM Japan has been asked by the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology to deliver a parallel-processing supercomputer, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a major Japanese business daily.

Competition among supercomputer vendors such as NEC, Silicon Graphics, and IBM is often fierce for these orders, which manufacturers prize as high-profile affirmations of their technological prowess.

Though the report did not state the model that IBM is slated to deliver, Big Blue has shipped computers based on RS/6000 SP technology as supercomputer class machines. The RS/6000 SP, for instance, is the building block for the parallel supercomputers IBM sold to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the National Weather Service, and the San Diego Supercomputing Center.

The Japan-based report claimed it was one of the most powerful parallel-processing machines in Japan, containing 256 processors. It will handle scientific calculations, including materials research and analysis of molecule orbits, for the agency's information and calculation center.

Parallel processing computers use hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of processors to perform complex scientific calculations.

IBM Japan will deliver the machine, valued at 1.4 billion yen, by the end of March, the report said.

In related news, Automated Systems Holdings said today that its ELM Computer Technologies and IBM China/Hong Kong would provide $67 million worth of IBM RS/6000 computer products to Hong Kong government departments.

The systems integrator said the government's Information Technology Services Department would buy IBM RS/6000 servers from ELM and IBM for any new installations or upgrades of the Unix platform in government departments in the coming 24 months.

Automated Systems said ELM would be responsible for delivering the servers and relevant software, and providing systems support and maintenance services.

Reuters contributed to this report.