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Swiss supercomputer cranks up the teraflops

Cliff Saran
IBM has built what is believed to be one of the largest supercomputers in Europe.

An IBM eServer P690 running at more than 1.3 teraflops is being deployed by the Swiss Centre for Scientific Computing (CSCS) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). The institute said the machine will be "devoted to solving key scientific challenges".

Commenting on the power of the new machine Michele Parrinello, director of the CSCS and Professor of Computational Science at ETH Zurich said: "Applications that were beyond the scope of the older generation of computers will now be possible."

The supercomputer uses IBM's POWER4 Gigaprocessor built using IBM's copper and silicon-on-insulator technology. According to IBM this allows it to operate in excess of one gigahertz. IBM said the supercomputer could move data between its Level 2 cache to the processors at over 100Gbytes per second - the equivalent of downloading 20 full-length DVDs in a single second.

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