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Germans ask IBM to make them the world's fastest supercomputer

by on14 December 2010

Must be very precise
Germany's Bavarian Academy of Science has contracted Biggish Blue to build a supercomputer that, when completed in 2012 will be the most powerful in the known world.

Dubbed the SuperMUC, the computer will be run by the Academy's Leibniz Supercomputing Centre in Garching, Germany. It will be available for European boffins who are probing the frontiers of medicine, astrophysics and anything else boffinish that needs a computer.

The MUC suffix is borrowed from the Munich airport code and Martin Jetter, chairman of the board of IBM Germany said that the German and European research community will get a push to be on the forefront of international competition.

The system will use 14,000 Intel Xeon processors which will be shoved into IBM System x iDataPlex servers and it should be able to reach speeds of 3 petaflops. We guess when the BBC reports it, it will say something like “a second of a machine at this speed can process the same amount as would take someone with a pocket calculator a trillion years.”

SuperMUC will use a new form of cooling that IBM developed, called Aquasar. It uses hot water to cool the processors, a design that should cut cooling electricity usage by 40 percent, the company claims.

Arndt Bode, chairman of the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre board of directors said that SuperMUC will provide previously unattainable energy efficiency. This approach will allow the industry to develop ever more powerful supercomputers while keeping energy use in check," said, in a statement.

Once built, the system should rank near the top of the twice-annually compiled Top500 list of world's most-powerful computers. The top of the list at the moment is the Chinese Tianhe-1A system benchmarked a performance of 2.67 petaflops.

By the time it is built, SuperMUC will have some new competition for the top spot. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are each building a 20 petaflop computer. Both are expected to be operational in 2012.

Last modified on 14 December 2010
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