One of Germany’s most prestigious science institutions, the Max Planck Society, has selected IBM to build a powerful supercomputer devoted to solving grand challenges of science, ranging from investigations into the formation of the universe to the exploration of incredibly small nano worlds.
The Max Planck Society’s new System p supercomputer will be designed to achieve a peak performance of over 100 TeraFlop/s (100 trillion calculations per second), offering up to 20 times the application performance of the Society's current supercomputer.
Incorporating forthcoming IBM Power6 technology, the machine is expected to be one of Europe’s most powerful supercomputers when completed in 2008.
The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences awarded the multi-million dollar contract to IBM after evaluating proposals from several vendors. Power6 is the advanced microprocessor that will power next-generation IBM servers planned for 2007.
"The new IBM supercomputer gives Max Planck scientists the ability to once again carry out competitive, state-of-the-art research in the field of numerical simulations," says Stefan Heinzel, director of Garching Computing Center (RZG), where the supercomputer will be located.
The next-generation IBM machine will help researchers tackle a number of grand challenges in various scientific disciplines. In materials science, it will help achieve a better understanding of the properties and functions of nano-, polymeric and colloidal systems and membranes. It will also be used to address computer-aided material design and 3D pattern recognition in macromolecular systems.
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics will use the new system for realistic simulations of turbulence in fusion devices, contributing to energy research in support of the world-wide ITER fusion project.
Astrophysical projects will include simulations of the cosmological structure formation in the Universe, complex interacting processes in supernovae and their consequences for cosmology, gravitational collapses and gravitational waves, and cosmological tests to decipher the nature of dark energy.
Research on equilibrium properties of new quantum phases in disordered quantum systems is expected to lead to new discoveries in the fields of quantum computing.
In addition to the large supercomputer, the Max Planck Society will receive a next-generation Blue Gene system for selected, highly scalable and communication-intensive applications.
“Even more important”, says Hermann Lederer, head of application support at RZG, “the next-generation Blue Gene system will improve our capacity to prepare, develop and optimize applications from the Max Planck Society for future peta-scale computing.”
Dave Turek, vice-president at IBM Deep Computing, adds: "Joining a long roster of pioneering IBM supercomputers – from Deep Blue and ASCI White to ASC Purple – this system will represent a quantum leap forward for supercomputing in Europe.
"IBM is a committed partner in supporting the Max Planck Society’s goal of addressing some of the most daunting scientific problems known to man."