IBM Builds New Supercomputer For Brown: 14 Teraflops Of Performance

IBM and supercomputers go together like beans and rice (or CPUs and motherboards, for the non-chefs out there), but the company's latest is one of its most impressive to date. Hailed as the most powerful computing system in all of Rhode Island, the multimillion-dollar supercomputer at Brown's Center for Computation and Visualization is a real token of pride for both the institution and IBM as a company.

It was built to be used by researchers statewide to tackle "grand challenges" affecting Ocean State residents in climate change, education, energy and health. Both entities will be working with government, universities, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, businesses and other entities in Rhode Island on using the supercomputer, so it certainly seems as if all that power will be well distributed and used to benefit a whole heap of people.

So, just how powerful is this thing? It can perform more than 14 trillion calculations per second -- nearly 50 times faster than what had been available at Brown. It operates at a peak performance speed of more than 14 teraflops, widely considered to meet supercomputer standards. Specifically, the machine will be used in genomics that could lead to drugs for treating specific diseases such as cancer; investigation of the mechanics of human and animal movement; exploration of the web of animal life and ocean ecosystems; and studies of the terrain of planetary bodies, such as Mars. No word on whether or not it can play Chess, but we're guessing it'd have no trouble sidestepping your checkmate attempts if so.

Inside the Supercomputer

The new supercomputer - with a total of 1,440 microprocessors - is based on three IBM iDataPlex systems, equal to the size of six refrigerators; an IBM Cluster 1350; and multiple IBM storage systems running General Parallel File System, supported by IBM Global Services.

Highlights of the system: