Skip to main content

IBM Delivers World's Most Powerful Unclassified Supercomputer, Aiming For Breakthrough in Fuel-Efficient Automobiles

IBM System at National Lab Underscores IBM's Leadership on TOP500 Supercomputer List

Select a topic or year


Heidelberg, Germany - 21 Jun 2001: IBM today announced that it has delivered the world's most powerful unclassified supercomputer, which will conduct the basic scientific research that may lead to breakthroughs in fuel-efficient automobiles. The announcement came as IBM captured the number one ranking on an independent list of the world's fastest computers, issued today at the Supercomputing 2001 Conference in Heidelberg, Germany.

The top unclassified machine, capable of a theoretical peak of 3.8 trillion calculations per second, is an IBM supercomputer that will be used by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in California for a wide range of sophisticated research projects, such as simulating internal engine combustion. This research may lead to automobile engines that consume less gasoline and emit fewer pollutants. Scientists believe such next-generation engines could result in anannual savings of more than $30 billion in energy-related costs in the United States alone.

The IBM machine at NERSC is the second most powerful supercomputer in the world, after IBM's classified ASCI White system.

The NERSC announcement highlights IBM's dominance of The TOP500 List*, published today by researchers at the University of Tennessee and the University of Mannheim in Germany. The list, which ranks the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world, illustrates in dramatic terms IBM's leadership in the high performance computing space:

"We're proud to have the world's top supercomputer for unclassified research," said Bill Kramer, deputy director of NERSC. "But more importantly, we're fulfilling our mission to provide Department of Energy scientists with the tools to advance scientific research in many disciplines."

IBM also demonstrated leadership on a separate list of cluster-based supercomputers issued by the compilers of the TOP500 list. IBM has three of the top 10 clustered supercomputers, more than any vendor, according to the Clusters@TOP500 list.**

The latest TOP500 List continues to underscore an important trend: the emerging number of supercomputers used in business applications. Nearly half of the systems on the TOP500 -- 236 -- are used for business applications. Of the elite top ten business supercomputers in the world, seven are IBM SPs.

"IBM has extended its supercomputing leadership by designing systems that are equally at home running huge Websites as they are solving complex scientific problems," said Surjit Chana, IBM vice president, high performance computing. "IBM will continue to deliver the kind of supercomputing technology that will help solve the most challenging problems of business, engineering and science."

The use of supercomputers by commercial businesses has increased dramatically since "Deep Blue," an IBM SP, defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. In fact, over the past three years more than half of IBM sales of new supercomputers have been to customers that use them as commercial Web-hosting servers. More and more businesses are recognizing the IBM SP's power and virtually unlimited scalability, traits that have been utilized for years by the scientific and technical communities for groundbreaking work in forecasting weather, biomedical research and nuclear test simulation.

Contact(s) information

John Buscemi
IBM Media Relations
(914) 766-4495
jbuscemi@us.ibm.com