August 9, 2011

IBM And NCSA Abandon Peta-Flop Supercomputer Contract

IBM and the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) said they have abandoned plans to build a petaflop-speed computer.

IBM terminated its four-year 2008 "Blue Waters" contract with NCSA to develop a $208 million supercomputer.

"The innovative technology that IBM ultimately developed was more complex and required significantly increased financial and technical support by IBM beyond its original expectations," the joint statement read.

"NCSA and IBM worked closely on various proposals to retain IBM's participation in the project but could not come to a mutually agreed-on plan concerning the path forward."

IBM will return the money it received from the university, while NCSA will return the IBM equipment it has been using.  Both the organizations have promised to work together on future petascale computing projects.

The project aimed to build a Power7 processor-based supercomputer capable of a quadrillion floating point operations per second.  The computer would have been one of the world's most powerful supercomputers.

NCSA planned to allow researchers to use the computer for advanced simulation, modeling and other data-crunching tasks in physics, materials, science, meteorology, biology and other fields.


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