IBM rolls out one of the world’s fastest supercomputers

IBM Corp. on Friday rolled out a Unix-based supercomputer capable of churning out up to a half trillion operations a second and that will be aimed at applications involving scientific and computing and business intelligence.

The eServer p655, a next generation version of IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer, contains 128 Power4 processors in one rack, but is also available in either four- or eight-processor building blocks, a company spokesperson said.

A single eServer p655 rack with 128 Power4 processors occupies only about one-sixth the floor space of typical Itanium2 based-servers with the same number of processors, company officials claimed.

“Tomorrow’s innovations are rooted in the bedrock of supercomputing technologies, an area where we can leverage decades of experience,” said Adalio Sanchez, general manager of IBM eServer pSeries. “We think the eServer p655 is a significant breakthrough for customers who really need massive power and scalability,” he said.

In a related announcement, IBM said it is once again the leader in supercomputing, according to the popular Top 500 List of Supercomputers. Big Blue has a total of 93,074 teraflops, or trillions of calculations per second, of power on the Top 500 List of Supercomputers; that figure accounts for about 31 per cent of the total processing power on the list. Hewlett Packard is second with 64,827.6 teraflops.

Corporate users can cluster p655 systems using IBM’s eServer Cluster 1600 in concert with a high-performance switch. They can also define their own logical partitioning, which afford them more flexibility. In addition, cluster system administration from a single-control workstation can be added through IBM’s cluster management software series, company officials said.

The p655 runs both the AIX 5L operating system, including Version 5.1, and Linux.

The p655 carries a US$73,485 price tag and will be available in volume shipments before the end of the year.