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IBM Drops 10 PFlop NCSA Supercomputer Project

By - Source: NCSA | B 26 comments

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.

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    blackened144 , August 10, 2011 5:04 PM
    JohnnyLuckyWhat did the NSCA plan to do with the supercomputer?

    Find cures for male pattern baldness and erectile dysfunction.
  • 17 Hide
    Neverdyne , August 10, 2011 4:43 PM
    JohnnyLuckyWhat did the NSCA plan to do with the supercomputer?


    I would suspect simulations and problem solving algorithms that would take days, if not weeks on ordinary computers. One of my electronic engineering teachers told us he did his thesis would've taken weeks to do in an ordinary computer, and he did it in 2 hours on his university's supercomputer.
  • 17 Hide
    NapoleonDK , August 10, 2011 4:39 PM
    Aperture science. We do what we must, because we can...
Other Comments
    Display all 26 comments.
  • -9 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , August 10, 2011 3:41 PM
    What did the NSCA plan to do with the supercomputer?
  • 2 Hide
    pasoleatis , August 10, 2011 4:12 PM
    Make your life easier through research.
  • 6 Hide
    officeguy , August 10, 2011 4:16 PM
    If I repeated the last paragraph to someone, I would sound smart :) 
  • 17 Hide
    NapoleonDK , August 10, 2011 4:39 PM
    Aperture science. We do what we must, because we can...
  • 17 Hide
    Neverdyne , August 10, 2011 4:43 PM
    JohnnyLuckyWhat did the NSCA plan to do with the supercomputer?


    I would suspect simulations and problem solving algorithms that would take days, if not weeks on ordinary computers. One of my electronic engineering teachers told us he did his thesis would've taken weeks to do in an ordinary computer, and he did it in 2 hours on his university's supercomputer.
  • 4 Hide
    MasterMace , August 10, 2011 4:59 PM
    They should contact NVidia for the computer.

    And neverdyne is correct, things like Meteorological models would be calculated on this. A lot of math problems take forever to do out, even with a modern desktop computer, so they build supercomputers to grind the numbers.
  • 21 Hide
    blackened144 , August 10, 2011 5:04 PM
    JohnnyLuckyWhat did the NSCA plan to do with the supercomputer?

    Find cures for male pattern baldness and erectile dysfunction.
  • -7 Hide
    jebbadiah , August 10, 2011 5:12 PM
    good job robots!
  • 8 Hide
    zak_mckraken , August 10, 2011 5:15 PM
    pasoleatisMake your life easier through research.

    You know, checking emails, updating their Facebook status, messing up wikipedia entries.
  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , August 10, 2011 5:31 PM

    A sensible alternative would be the next-gen SGI Altix UV, or the ICE
    if a shared-memory model isn't needed.

    Ian.

  • 4 Hide
    pasoleatis , August 10, 2011 5:39 PM
    neverdyneI would suspect simulations and problem solving algorithms that would take days, if not weeks on ordinary computers. One of my electronic engineering teachers told us he did his thesis would've taken weeks to do in an ordinary computer, and he did it in 2 hours on his university's supercomputer.

    Maybe simulations that would take years on normal computers. I myself I use more than 100 000 hours (about 10 years) of cpu time per year for a rather small project.
  • 4 Hide
    ronch79 , August 10, 2011 5:43 PM
    Bad blow for IBM. Whoever ends up finishing the project will have a lot of bragging rights, having done what IBM chickened out of.
  • 11 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , August 10, 2011 5:50 PM
    ronch79Bad blow for IBM. Whoever ends up finishing the project will have a lot of bragging rights, having done what IBM chickened out of.


    I doubt it was chickening out. Sounds more like the NSCA didn't want to pay what it was worth, and IBM told them to bugger off.
  • -3 Hide
    11796pcs , August 10, 2011 9:50 PM
    The deal was probably broke when IBM tried to patent everything.
  • -1 Hide
    guyjones , August 11, 2011 12:42 AM
    IBM backed out when they discovered that U of I intended to build the world's largest porn server. Big Blue didn't want its storied and respected brand sullied by such base schemes masquerading as noble scientific inquiry.
  • -1 Hide
    darkavenger123 , August 11, 2011 1:17 AM
    They realised ....Blue Waters is really the predecessor to Skynet. So they are TERMINATING it in advance....but rest assure, blue water WILL BE BACK again in THE RISE OF THE MACHINES....
  • 7 Hide
    tygrus , August 11, 2011 2:03 AM
    JohnnyLuckyWhat did the NSCA plan to do with the supercomputer?


    Same thing we do every night Pinky, "Try to take over the world!". SFX=Evil laugh.
  • -3 Hide
    dormantreign , August 11, 2011 3:52 AM
    I herd crysis kept crashing on it and NSCA got pissed.
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