The US Naval Oceanographic Office of the US Department of Defense has paid IBM $18m for one of the world's fastest supercomputers to help Navy vessels avoid maritime tragedies.
IBM said the system, codenamed Blue Wave, will rank as the most powerful supercomputer at the Defense Department and the fourth fastest in operation anywhere.
The US Navy supercomputer, which can process two trillion calculations a second (two teraflops), is powered by 1336 copper-based Power 3 processors. The IBM RS/6000 SP system also features 1.336 terabytes of Ram and 17 terabytes of hard disk memory.
The supercomputer will create models of the ocean depth, temperature and wave heights, enabling meteorologists to improve the prediction of storms at sea. The models will also assist scientists in predicting the behaviour of oceans and will be used to improve search and rescue efforts for naval vessels, said IBM.
Landry Bernard, technical director of the Naval Oceanographic Office at the Stennis Space Center, where the system is located, said: "The benefits to Department of Defense research and development will be enormous, enabling substantive advances in the science areas which are critical to the nation's defence."
In 1999, IBM became the leader in the traditional supercomputer market. The company has about 30 per cent of that market, in which some 250 computers range in price from $2m to $100m or more.
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