Blue Gene quits ivory tower

Fresh from setting a supercomputer performance record, IBM has announced it will make a commercial version of its Blue Gene...

Fresh from setting a supercomputer performance record, IBM has announced it will make a commercial version of its Blue Gene system available for businesses and scientific researchers.

Called the IBM eServer Blue Gene, the Power-based system mixes cooling and clustering technologies to achieve a performance of 5.7 teraflops from a machine that occupies less than one square metre of floorspace.

Prices for the system, which is available now, start at $1.5m (£810,000). For the first time users can also rent the system from one of IBM's Deep Computing On Demand centres.

"We think this system will allow us to introduce a new class of high-performance computing to industry-specific businesses and for our clients to deliver better optimised functionality," said IBM vice-president Colin Parris.

Parris said IBM was actively working with a number of industry partners to deliver Blue Gene's capabilities to "key marketplaces".

IBM has been working with partners over the past few years to make Blue Gene flexible enough to handle a variety of different computing workloads. IBM and a large number of national testing labs and universities are working on a list of high-performance computing applications in life sciences, financial modelling, hydrodynamics, quantum chemistry, molecular dynamics, astronomy and climate modelling.

Big Blue is also looking at more commercial applications involving grid computing, business intelligence, manufacturing processes, and risk and compliance.

The new system will be available in configurations ranging from one to 64 racks. Partially populated racks with fewer than 1,024 nodes are also available.

Blue Gene was the result of a five-year project that cost $100m in research alone, and started life as a research vehicle for protein folding.

Ed Scannell writes for InfoWorld

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