IBM unveils supercomputer for power-based apps

IBM Corp. Monday took the wraps off its latest supercomputer, the 16-way eServer p5 575 which the company expects to ship in the fourth quarter of this year. The company made the announcement at the International Supercomputer Conference (ISC) in Heidelberg, Germany.

Big Blue said that the new server, powered by a 1.5 GHz Power5 processor, can support 87.3G Flops (floating operations per second) of performance, more than doubling the speed achieved by the 8-way 1.9GHz eServer p5 575 machine which IBM introduced to great fanfare in November of last year. At that time, IBM talked up the computer’s ultra-thin design built specifically for clustering, dubbing it an “off-the-shelf” supercomputer.

The new 16-way eServer p5 575 can accommodate a maximum of 192 CPUs (central processing units) in one 24-inch frame, according to the company.

IBM is positioning the 8-way and 16-way machines for different uses, suggesting that the 8-way is best deployed for memory-hogging applications such as data mining and business intelligence, while the 16-way is best suited to handle applications where computational power is the driving force, notably organizations engaged in engineering, drug design and weather forecasting.

When the 16-way supercomputer ships, IBM plans support for AIX 5L for Power versions 5.2 and 5.3, Suse Linux Enterprise Server 9 for Power and Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS for Power. As well as running an operating system independently, the company said users will be able to run all the operating systems simultaneously should they wish via logical partitions. IBM didn’t provide pricing details for the machine.

Supercomputer vendors are holding their collective breath until Wednesday when the latest list of the highest performing machines worldwide, the Top 500, will be announced at the ISC show.

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