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November 19, 2009

IBM, Brown unveil new supercomputer

Features 1,440 microprocessors and 390TB storage

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM and Brown University have announced the opening of a multimillion-dollar supercomputer at Brown’s Center for Computation and Visualization.

The company claims the new supercomputer to be the most powerful computational system in Rhode Island and will be used by researchers to tackle challenges affecting Ocean State residents in climate change, education, energy and health.

Brown and IBM will work with government, universities, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, businesses and other entities in Rhode Island on using the supercomputer. The supercomputer can perform more than 14 trillion calculations per second and can operate at a peak performance speed of more than 14 teraflops, IBM said.

According to IBM, the new supercomputer comes with a total of 1,440 microprocessors and is based on three IBM iDataPlex systems; an IBM Cluster 1350; and multiple IBM storage systems running general parallel file system, supported by IBM Global Services. It has 390 terabytes of storage capacity, holds 4.5 terabytes of memory, and allows parallel programs to be run.

Combined with the supercomputer, Brown has increased its backbone network tenfold, to 10 gigabits from one gigabit. Reportedly, it is six times more energy efficient than what had been available at Brown.

Nick Bowen, vice president of technology at IBM, said: This new system will help scientists make our world smarter through the ability to address problems that are orders of magnitude larger than what they could address just a few short years ago, from mapping the human genome to helping figure out how to cut down on carbon emissions to helping ensure our waters and food are safe and sustainable.”

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