DARPA commissions Cray, IBM for supercomputer research

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded supercomputing research contracts to IBM Corp. and Cray Inc. of Seattle.

Both four-year contracts will fulfill phase three of DARPA's High Productivity Computing Systems program, an initiative launched in 2002 to create a new generation of economically viable high-performance computer systems.

The research agency hopes such systems will be able to undertake more than a thousand trillion calculations per second, known as petascale computing.

Cray will receive $250 million for its portion of the work, while IBM will receive $244 million. Both tasks will follow up on earlier HPCS contracts issued to Cray and IBM.

Sun Microsystems Inc. also participated in earlier phases of the work, but did not secure a contract for this round.

For its effort, IBM plans to extend existing in-house technologies such as its Power processor, AIX operating system, General Parallel File System, and the company's interconnect and storage subsystems.

Cray plans to use its money to build a system called Cascade, which will be based on the company's Adaptive Supercomputing platform. The company plans to focus on easing programmability, boosting bandwidth among the nodes, better synchronizing processors and unifying file systems.

About the Authors

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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