Contest offers use of supercomputer

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Hardware

IBM Corp.'s most powerful computer will be available for scientific research through a deal announced Tuesday with Argonne National Laboratory.

Researchers who win a competition staged by the U.S. Department of Energy, which funds Argonne, will be able to use the Blue Gene supercomputer system.

Argonne and IBM have worked together for years in conducting research that tests the limits of computing power. The new arrangement will enable scientists from industry and academia, as well as national labs, to apply for computing time to solve complex problems.

IBM's computer was built to help its scientists conduct research but also to help the broader scientific community, said Dave Turek, IBM's vice president of deep computing. He called Blue Gene the "fastest privately owned supercomputer in the world."

Argonne has its own smaller version of a Blue Gene supercomputer. Ray Bair, a senior computational scientist at Argonne, said the agency's supercomputer has 2,048 processors, while the one at IBM has 40,000 processors.

By Jon Van
The Chicago Tribune