Energy inks five-year contract for IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer

The Energy Department’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center last
month awarded a five-year, $33 million contract to IBM Corp. for an RS/6000 SP

The RS/6000 SP will have a peak performance of more than 3 trillion floating-point
operations per second. The center will use the supercomputer to study combustion,
materials science, fusion energy, biology, high-energy and nuclear physics, and global
climates, said Bill Kramer, director of the center’s High Performance Computing

The center, located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., will
get the RS/6000 SP in two phases, Kramer said.

Phase 1, scheduled to begin next month, will consist of the supercomputer with 304 of
its two-CPU Power3 SMP nodes. The new 64-bit Power3 can perform up to 2 billion operations
per second, he said.

In all, the Phase 1 system will include 512 processors, 256G of RAM and 10T of storage,
Kramer said.

During Phase 2, set to begin no later than December of next year, the center will
receive 152 16-CPU Power3+ SMP nodes that use an enhanced Power3 microprocessor. The
entire system will have 2,048 processors dedicated to large-scale scientific computing,
Kramer said.

The fixed-price contract represents the largest single procurement in the center’s
68-year history, he said. 

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