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IBM to Build World's Largest Academic Supercomputer At San Diego Supercomputer Center

System to be available to researchers over Internet

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SOMERS, NY - 04 Nov 1998: . . . The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) today announced that it has selected IBM to install the first computer dedicated to academic researchers that is capable of teraflops performance -- one trillion calculations per second.

The supercomputer, to be installed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), will help researchers tackle deep computing problems such as: unlocking the secrets of the human brain, climate modeling, and understanding the origins of the universe.

"NPACI is committed to keeping the national research community at the leading edge of high-performance computing," said Sid Karin, director of NPACI and SDSC. "By combining the expertise of NPACI and IBM in supercomputing technology, we can provide researchers with the advanced tools necessary to achieve significant advances in computational science and engineering."

Delivery of the system, an IBM RS/6000 SP running IBM's AIX operating system, is scheduled for the second half of next year. Initially a quarter teraflops system will be installed and tested, after which the system will be upgraded to a full teraflops. When complete, the system will have more than 1,000 microprocessors and be the largest constructed with IBM's POWER3 chip, which features exceptional computational performance.

Just last week, on Oct. 28, Vice President Al Gore and the Dept. of Energy accepted delivery of an IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer capable of performing almost four trillion calculations per second.

In conjunction with the agreement announced today, SDSC and IBM have expanded their partnership, which currently involves data storage and digital libraries, to include parallel programming environments and "transparent supercomputing."

Transparent supercomputing will enable users from around the world to access the computer over the Internet using a Web browser.

For example, biologists using a remotely controlled electron microscope to study specimens could request 3-D reconstructions of the specimen. Or, environmental scientists could perform simulations of an oil spill in San Diego Bay.

"By using the Web to link the leading researchers of our time with the deep computing power of the RS/6000 SP, we bring together human intelligence and technology to solve nature's most perplexing mysteries," said Mike Borman, vice president Worldwide Sales, IBM RS/6000. "The RS/6000 SP has established itself as a leader in scientific and technical computing, and this agreement with NPACI provides further evidence of our commitment to provide solutions for problems of global scale."

SDSC and IBM will also continue their joint development of the High-Performance Storage System (HPSS) for storage and retrieval of very large amounts of data. At 80 terabytes, the archive at SDSC is the largest in the world based on HPSS and is expected to grow to a petabyte (one quadrillion bytes) in the next few years.

NPACI was established in 1997 as part of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure program to build the environment for tomorrow's scientific discovery. Led by SDSC, a research unit of University of California at San Diego, the partnership receives support from the NSF, the State of California, the University of California and other agencies. NPACI activities are built on the foundation established by SDSC, a national laboratory for computational science and engineering.

More information on NPACI is available at: SDSC information is available at IBM RS/6000 information can be found at

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