The Channel logo


By | John Oates 14th June 2005 09:30

IBM sells itself big box

We're our own best customer...

IBM has flicked the switch on the world's most powerful privately-owned supercomputer. Nicknamed BGW it takes second place behind IBM's BlueGene machine at Lawrence Livermore National Labs.

BGW, or the Watson Blue Gene system as it is more formally known, has a processing speed of 91.29 teraflops. It is half the size of comparable machines and is made up of 20 fridge-sized racks.

IBM researchers will use the giant calculator to test theories in everything from business applications to weather forecasting and life sciences. The first thing it will be used for is running protein simulations for drug development.

Academic researchers will also get the chance to use the uber-machine. Big Blue will give 5 per cent of BGW's time to the Department of Energy's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) programme. INCITE supports large-scale computer projects.

Big Blue has set up a new consulting and software unit - the Center for Business Optimization unit - which will use BGW to run mathematical algorithms "to tackle clients' previously unsolvable problems". The machine can also track and analyse world currencies and financial markets to improve global risk strategies. The machine cost about $40m, according to Bloomberg. ®

Related stories

Swiss neurologists to model the brain
Nottingham uni powers up £5m supercomputer
Puny human takes on chess-playing supercomputer

alert Send corrections


Frank Jennings

What do you do? Use manual typwriters or live in a Scottish croft? Our man advises
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

Trevor Pott

Among other things, Active Directory needs an overhaul
Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Kat Hall

Plans for 2 million FTTP connections in next four years 'not enough'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC
One reselling man tells his tale of woe