IBM announced this week that the US Department of Defense has acquired two new AIX-based supercomputers for the Navy to use in its Naval Oceanographic Office at the Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi.
The supercomputers, which are based on IBM’s eight-way pSeries 655 servers and which use the fastest Power4+ processors Big Blue can make, will be used to model the world’s oceans and weather; this is vital for predicting climate conditions for the US military. The machine will also be used to design ocean vessels, aircraft and its missiles, and its predecessor has been used to try to find vaccinations for malaria and other infectious diseases that often affect military operations.
The main machine, which is code-named Kraken, will have more than three times the processing power of the Navy’s current machine, which is called Blue Ocean. The Kraken supercomputer will be comprised of 368 of the pSeries 655 servers, which will have nearly 3,000 Power4+ processors and which will deliver nearly 20 teraflops of peak aggregate processing power. Blue Ocean, which was installed two years ago, had 6 teraflops peak number-crunching power. That machine was comprised of 37 of IBM’s 32-way pSeries 690 servers. The second new supercomputer that the Navy acquired this week is a more modest cluster of eight of the eight-way pSeries 655 machines rated at 3.5 teraflops. The latest Navy deal brings the aggregate computing capacity of the Mississippi center to about 30 teraflops.