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Water-cooled Aquasar supercomputer does math, heats dorm rooms

Darren Murph
June 25, 2009
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Not that we haven't seen this trick pulled before, but there's still something magical about the forthcoming Aquasar. Said supercomputer, which will feature two IBM BladeCenter servers in each rack, should be completed by 2010 and reach a top speed of ten teraflops. Such a number pales in comparison to the likes of IBM's Roadrunner, but it's the energy factor here that makes it a star. If all goes well, this machine will suck down just 10KW of energy, while the average power consumption of a supercomputer in the top 500 list is 257KW. The secret lies in the new approach to chip-level water cooling, which will utilize a "fine network of capillaries" to bring the water dangerously close to the processors without actually frying any silicon. While it's crunching numbers, waste heat will also be channeled throughout the heating system at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, giving students and dorm room crashers a good feel for the usefulness of recycled warmth.

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