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IBM Introduces Commercial Version of World's Fastest Supercomputer

IBM’s Record-Breaking Supercomputer Means Business

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Supercomputing Champion</span></strong><br /><span>The U.S. Department of Energy has already purchased one of the new RS/6000 SP supercomputers - 24 Jul 2000: , Awesome Bandwidth
The RS/6000 SP offers a host of features to increase performance and reliability:
Copper. Much of the supercomputer's extraordinary speed is derived from its POWER3-II microprocessors, built with IBM's breakthrough copper chip technology. Microprocessors that use copper wire are faster than those containing traditional aluminum wire because copper is a better electrical conductor.

High-bandwidth switch. Speed is further enhanced by the SP's new high bandwidth switch, which allows the microprocessors to exchange data with each other at a rate of up to 500MB/second in each direction -- a more than threefold improvement over IBM's previous switch technology. The new SP switch has improved diagnostic capabilities and hot-swappable components.

Software. The RS/6000 SP offers mainframe-class reliability, availability and serviceability features implemented through software. Dynamic CPU deallocation isolates potential processor problems and keeps applications running. Parallel System Support Programs (PSSP) enables cluster management from a single point of control. Scheduling of interactive or batch jobs is enhanced with LoadLeveler software, which improves automatic failure detection and job rescheduling.

Eclipsing Sun
In key technical and commercial computing benchmarks, the new RS/6000 SP has quickly proven itself to be a star performer, trouncing Sun E10000 systems containing far more processors.

A 16-way RS/6000 SP scored 6353 in the SPECfp_rate95 technical benchmark, substantially greater than the 6013 posted by a 64-way Sun E10000. SPECfp_rate95 measures floating-point performance, critical to technical applications such as petroleum exploration, aircraft design analysis, weather forecasting and computational fluid dynamics.

"This computer can solve tremendously complex problems with unprecedented speed; it's an incredible achievement," said Landry Bernard, technical director of the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, which relies on an earlier version of the RS/6000 SP for applications like oceanographic modeling and ship design. "IBM's latest SP technology ensures that there is an upgrade path to meet future needs."

The SP also routed a far larger Sun E10000 in the SPECint_rate95 benchmark, which gauges commercial performance. A 16-way RS/6000 SP achieved a benchmark score of 3352, compared with the 40-way E10000's score of 3196.

TOP500 List Supremacy
The RS/6000 SP holds the leadership position in the supercomputing arena. According to the TOP500 Supercomputer List, SPs account for 144 of the world's 500 most powerful high performance computers -- more than any other machine.

The TOP500 List illustrates the growing importance of supercomputers to business computing. More than half of the machines on the list are used for commercial applications, and eight of the top ten business supercomputers are RS/6000 SP systems.

The "TOP500 Supercomputing Sites" list is compiled and published by supercomputing experts Jack Dongarra from the University of Tennessee and Erich Strohmaier and Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim (Germany). The entire list can be viewed at

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For more information about RS/6000 systems and the AIX operating system, see the RS/6000 home page at


IBM, RS/6000, SP and AIX are registered trademarks or trademarks of the IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company, Limited. Other company, product and service names, which may be denoted by a double asterisk (**) may be trademarks or service marks of others.

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John Buscemi