Big Blue goes for White heat

Users wondering about the scalability of their RS/6000 SP server architectures might want to take a look at IBM's ASCI White supercomputer announcement.

Featuring 512 server nodes, 6Tbytes of memory and more than 120Tbytes of storage, the system is the most powerful supercomputer in the world and draws many of its technologies from today's commercially available RS/6000 systems, according to IBM.

ASCI White will be used by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California to test nuclear weapons.

It's more than three times faster than the 3.8 teraFLOPS systems delivered by IBM to Livermore Labs back in 1998 and more than 100 times faster than the chess-playing Deep Blue supercomputer that beat Gary Kasparov in 1997, according to IBM.

The system comprises 512 separate RS/6000 16-processor Unix servers linked to one another via a super-fast switch capable of pumping data between the servers at 450Gbyte/sec - compared with about 100Gbyte/sec on the existing system, said Jim Jardine, IBM's ASCI program manager.

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