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IBM developing 10 petaflop supercomputer, Power7 to ship next year

Joseph L. Flatley
December 7, 2009
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The last we heard, IBM was hard at work on its Power7 processor. Now the company's announcing that the thirty-two core chip -- and copious amounts of eDRAM -- are at the heart of its newest supercomputing project. To be housed at the University of Illinois, IBM's Blue Waters will be the largest publicly accessible supercomputer in the world when it goes online in 2011, theoretically capable of achieving 16 petaflop speeds by connecting up to 16,384 Power7 nodes, although IBM said that initially the theoretical peak performance will likely be closer to 10 petaflops -- with more realistic sustained real-world performance near one petaflop. To keep things from overheating, a system was devised that includes water-cooling for the whole rack, including the processor itself. But why should government agencies and large corporations have all the fun? According to CNET, IBM plans to ship Power7 processors with commercial server products sometime next year.

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