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IBM Inks Another Deal with DoD

For the second straight week, IBM has announced a major Linux supercomputing deal with the U.S. Department of Defense.

In a contract worth in the tens of millions, IBM agreed to provide a massive machine for the Army Research Laboratory Major Shared Resource Center (ARL MSRC), which will use it to advance the planning and creation of military defense systems.

Projected to reach processing speeds of 10 teraflops, or 10 trillion operations per second, the system should rank as one of the top ten fastest supercomputers in the world. The 2,304-CPU cluster will use 1,186 IBM eServer e325 nodes, each with dual 2.2 GHz AMD Opteron processors, a Myrinet interconnect and will run SUSE Linux.

It will also store more than 10 terabytes of data. The new supercomputer will be added to the IBM Power3 systems, two p690 systems, two SGI Origin 3800 systems and a Linux Networx Evolocity II that the center currently employs.

IBM officials have said supercomputing contracts are becoming more prevalent as the government frees up more money for military research in the wake of volatile, geopolitical unrest.

"This increase in computing capability will give DoD scientists and engineers the ability to solve complex, mission-critical, physics problems in a timeframe that can provide the data necessary to better assist our staff in solving some of our nation's most complex defense challenges and solutions," said Charles J. Nietubicz, Director of the ARL MSRC.

According to an IBM statement, the new cluster is part of the DoD's High Performance Computing Modernization Office "Technology Insertion 2004," an initiative to modernize DoD's high performance computing capabilities.

The Army Research Laboratory Major Shared Resource Center helps the DoD use high-performance computing for the military. The center uses gear from multiple vendors like IBM, SGI, and Linux NetworX to model and simulate more "lethal, more survivable weapon systems," and "exploring new chemical reactions."

Supercomputer contracts with U.S. government agencies are common for IBM. Last Friday, the DoD tabbed Big Blue for a cluster of eServer p655 machines from Big Blue to use in national defense research projects for the Navy.

The Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) Major Shared Resource Center will use the 368-server cluster in addition to its current infrastructure for so-called "Challenge Projects."

The center's employees use meteorology and oceanography knowledge to develop better military aircraft, ship and vehicle designs and improved missile and projectile designs.