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New IBM Petaflop Supercomputer at German Forschungszentrum Juelich

Blue Gene water cooling technology reduces need for air conditioning by 91 percent

The German research center Forschungszentrum Juelich has selected IBM to develop the first supercomputer in Europe capable of one Petaflop, or one thousand trillion operations per second. IBM will partner with Juelich-based Gauss Centre for Supercomputing to install the new IBM Blue Gene/P System in the first half of this year.

This new system - financed by the German Government - will help assure Forschungszentrum Juelich remains one of Europe's most renowned research centers and continues to play an important role in the global high performance computing research community.

This new Blue Gene System is the first to include new water cooling technology, created by IBM Research, which uses room temperature water to cool the servers. As air moves through the server racks, heat is removed as it passes through the water-based cooling system before it enters the next rack of servers. This result is a 91 percent reduction in air conditioning units that would have been required to cool Forschungszentrum Juelich's data center with an air-cooled Blue Gene.

"Supercomputers of this performance level are universal key technology instruments to solve most complex and urgent scientific problems in many areas," comments Professor Achim Bachem, Chairman of the Board of Forschungszentrum Juelich. "Scientists of all disciplines use supercomputers to identify climate changes, conduct research about protein folding in cells, how semiconductors work or how fuel cells can be improved."

"With speeds over a Petaflop, this new Juelich-based supercomputer offers the processing ability of more than 200,000 laptop computers," explains Professor Thomas Lippert, lead scientist of the Juelich supercomputing center. "In addition to raw power, this new system will be among the most energy efficient in the world."

"Forschungszentrum Juelich and IBM complement each other ideally with a focus in developing compact systems with industry leading performance and energy efficiency", said Martin Jetter, general manager, IBM Germany. "This new Petaflop Blue Gene system will ensure that Germany remains relevant for leading research and engineering."

The new Blue Gene/P System will include nearly 295,000 POWER processors in 72 racks and also include over 144 terabytes of memory. It will significantly add to Forschungszentrum Juelich's existing supercomputing capability at the Center, which includes an additional six petabytes of hard disk drive space, the amount equivalent of more than one million DVDs.

Inauguration and naming of the new systems will take place at an opening ceremony in mid 2009. The new supercomputer will be the first system that has been selected and purchased in the context of the German Gauss Center for Supercomputing (GCS).

The new Juelich Blue Gene System in Brief:

- Type: IBM Blue Gene / P

- Peak Performance: 1 Petaflop

- Processors: 294,912

- Processor Type: PowerPC 450 core 850 MHz

- Compute node: 4-way SMP processor

- Memory: 144 Terabytes

- Racks: 72

- Network Latency: 160 Nanoseconds

- Network Bandwidth: 5.1 Gigabytes

- Energy consumption: 2200 Kilowatts

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WebSphere Journal News Desk trawls the world of e-commerce technologies for news and innovations and presents IT professionals with updates on technology trends, products, and services in the WebSphere family.

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