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IBM kills 10 PFlop NCSA Supercomputer Project

August 11th, 2011        

IBM kills 10 PFlop NCSA Supercomputer Project

IBM’s ambitious Blue Waters supercomputer project apparently drowned in complex technology and a flood of unexpected costs.

IBM, which was contracted by National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, is said to have abandoned the project as the “technology […] was more complex and required significantly increased financial and technical support by IBM beyond its original expectations.”

A press release indicated that the two parties could not find a mutual plan that would accommodate the changed environment. As a result, the NCSA is getting its money back. IBM will also get back all equipment that had been already delivered.

Blue Waters was originally planned to become NCSA’s new flagship supercomputer with a peak performance of 10 PFlops that should have been delivered by at least 300,000 IBM Power7 cores. The original core architecture promised a quad-CPU module, which holds four 8-core Power7 processors. Each processor was promised to deliver a peak performance of 256 GFlops and each module about 1 TFlops. Other specs included more than 1 PB of memory, more than 25 PB of storage, 500 PB of archival storage and more than 100 Gbps of bandwidth. The NCSA said that it has not abandoned the project, but is looking for other ways to realize its next supercomputer.