IBM To Build Europe's Most Powerful Commercial Supercomputer

RS/6000 SP In Finland Will be Capable of Over One Trillion Calculations per Second

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HELSINKI, Finl - 26 May 2000: -- The Finnish academic supercomputing center - CSC - has selected an ultra-powerful IBM RS/6000 SP system as its next generation supercomputer for the Ministry of Education. Upon installation, the IBM system will be the most powerful commercial supercomputer on the European continent.

The new IBM RS/6000 SP is the successor to "Deep Blue," IBM's chess-playing supercomputer and will be installed at the CSC in October 2000. The strength of the SP system lies in its peak teraflop performance, which allows it to complete as many as one trillion calculations per second, making it roughly 150 times as fast as the Deep Blue supercomputer that defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov three years ago. WM-data, an IBM business partner, will install the system, valued at 30 million Finnish marks or 4.5 million U.S. dollars.

"The new IBM RS/6000 SP will assist CSC in developing the ultimate in high performance computing services," said Matti Ihamuotila, managing director of CSC. "In the long run, the vast scalability of the system architecture ensures the smooth growth of computing performance for research projects through the year 2005."

"The RS/6000 SP is the foundation of high performance computing," said Rod Adkins, general manager, IBM Web Servers. "IBM's superior technology and unmatched system architecture provides the world's leading research centers with the power, performance, speed and scalability they need to tackle the most important scientific and commercial computing puzzles of our time."

The SP will be used by companies and academic reserachers needing peak performance and the utilization of parallel programming codes. Current uses include materials physics, computational fluid dynamics and quantum chemistry. The system may also be utilized by the CSC for advanced weather forecasting.

The new SP system is based on the 64-bit, 375 MHz POWER3-II microprocessor, a powerful copper chip developed for IBM's RS/6000 servers and workstations. The remarkable power of the POWER3-II microprocessor is derived from IBM pioneered copper wiring. Copper increases microprocessor performance substantially compared with chips that use traditional aluminum In 2002, the system will be upgraded with IBM's POWER4 microprocessors, which will increase performance to the teraflop level. In that phase, the IBM SP will consist of several hundred processors. CSC has an option to further increase the system with new IBM processors in 2003.

When completed, the IBM RS/6000 SP at the CSC will rank in the top 25 on the TOP500 List of Supercomputing sites, which ranks the world's fastest supercomputers. IBM is the leader in high performance computing according to the TOP500 List, with 141 systems -- all RS/6000 SPs -- up 36 percent from one year ago.