Navy awash in new IBM supercomputers

Defense Dept. to buy second supercomputer for Naval Oceanographic Office.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise processors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science Credentials
  • I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Stephen Shankland
The Defense Department has agreed to buy a 2,944-processor IBM supercomputer for naval simulations, Big Blue plans to announce Tuesday.

The system, called Kraken, will have an expected performance of about 20 trillion calculations per second, or 20 teraflops. It's one of two machines the Naval Oceanographic Office is buying in a deal IBM said is worth tens of millions of dollars.

The flagship system is a cluster of 386 eight-processor p655 machines, which use IBM's Power4+ processor and its AIX version of Unix, according to IBM. It also includes a 55-terabyte FastT storage system. The second and smaller supercomputer, with 64 eight-processor p655 systems, has a speed of 3.5 teraflops.

The Navy office is an established supercomputer customer. In 2001, it purchased a Cray SV1ex for the task, and in 2002, added an IBM machine called Blue Ocean.

IBM is several years into a campaign to topple Hewlett-Packard, the No. 1 company in the high-performance computing market. Big Blue has had some success, returning to dominance on the Top500 list of the fastest supercomputers this June.