IBM has unveiled a commercial version of the world's fastest supercomputer which it said can be used in the most demanding ebusiness environments.
The RS/6000 SP commercial supercomputer combines copper microprocessors, silicon switch and software technologies, and handles complex tasks faster than before. It is powered by as many as 8192 processors with copper wiring which transmits information faster than conventional aluminium-wired chips.
Mike Kerr, vice president of IBM web server sales, said the server is based on the same technology Big Blue recently delivered to the US Department of Energy for complex nuclear explosion simulations - the ASCI (Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative) White server.
A four-processor version of the supercomputer costs $190,000 and a more typical configuration with 64 to 100 processors costs about $1.5m to $2m, said IBM.
Kerr said the RS/6000 SP is particularly suited to large complex analytical programs in the technical space, engineering analysis, virtual car crashing, mathematical environments and complex financial analysis.
He said another area of focus is ecommerce. "As customers develop to this space, it drives up demand for transactions and web surfing," he said. "It is an unpredictable environment and puts huge demands on customers overnight."
IBM used the RS/6000 SP to run the website for the recent Wimbledon tennis tournament and another will be used for the forthcoming Sydney Olympics website. "We will be taking orders today," said Kerr.
Big Blue recently took over the number two spot from Sun Microsystems in the market for powerful mainframe computers priced from $100,000 to $1m. Hewlett Packard remains in the number one position. In the first quarter of this year, IBM's mid-range Unix market share stood at 24.6 per cent compared with Sun's 21.4 per cent, according to researcher IDC.
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