IBM, SGI win Linux supercomputer deals in Asia

IBM Corp. and Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) have won contracts to supply Linux-based supercomputers to a Korean national university and a Japanese nuclear research institute, the two companies said Thursday.

The IBM system will be provided to Seoul National University and consist of a 425-node cluster of the company’s JS20 blade servers. The servers were launched by IBM earlier this year and are the company’s first to be based on its Power PC processor. The South Korean system will also include IBM’s Fast 7000 data storage system and will have a maximum performance of 5 teraflops, said the company.

The machine will be installed in early 2005, said Lee Yong-Shik, a spokesman for IBM Korea Inc. In Japan, Silicon Graphics has signed a deal to supply an Altix 3700 Bx2 supercomputer to the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI). The new machine will feature 2,048 Intel Corp. Itanium 2 processors, the TP9300 disk system and over 13TB of memory, which SGI said is a record memory capacity. The supercomputer is expected to offer a performance of about 13 teraflops, said SGI.

The computer is expected to be fully operational by the end of March 2005 and will integrate two separate computer systems at JAERI’s facilities in Tokai and Naka townships, which are about 10 kilometers apart in Ibaraki prefecture northeast of Tokyo. JAERI will use a high-speed optical network connection to link the two centres and allow for shared access to data.

SGI will work with Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd. to install the machine.

Both new computers represent significant performance increases compared to existing machines at the institutions, according to the most recent version of the closely followed Top 500 ranking of supercomputer systems, which was published in June. A new version of the list is due to be published next week.

The most powerful computer at Seoul National University at present is a university-built cluster computer that was completed in 2002 and features a maximum performance of 1 teraflop. The machine, called Pegasus, uses 400 Intel Corp. Pentium 4 Xeon processors and ranked as the 233rd most powerful computer in the world, according to the Top 500 list.

The most powerful machine at JAERI to feature in the Top 500 ranking is a 812-processor version of a Hewlett-Packard Co. Alpha Server SC40 supercomputer. It ranked just behind Seoul National University’s system at position 236.

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