IBM gets Navy Blue

The Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVO) Major Shared Resource Center (MSRC), an office in the Department of Defense, is the latest government agency to install an IBM supercomputer, a Power 575 Hydro-Cluster.

The Power 575 Hydro-Cluster consists of 149 nodes with 32 Power6 processors per cluster running AIX and uses IBM’s water cooling system, rather than air cooling. When it’s finally up and running, it will offer 90 teraflops of computing power, 4.5 times more powerful than what NAVO has now, according to Mike Hensley, vice president of deep computing product management at IBM.

At 90 teraflops, that would put the new cluster at number 15 on the Top 500 supercomputer list, which will undoubtedly change by November, when it will be reissued. The cluster will be used to do ocean modeling to provide operational weather forecasts for the U.S. Naval fleet, but the data is also shared with the public as well.

“They have, over the years, run a supercomputer center in operational mode 24/7 providing data and actionable weather forecasting information to fleet commanders to stay out of harm’s way and to optimize their operating conditions,” Hensley told “With this new cluster, they can refine the fidelity of ocean and weather forecasting models. With each generation of computing you can improve your accuracy for the fleet.”

The new cluster is being installed now and will be operational some time in early fall. The older system, running older Power5 and even Power4 servers, will eventually be retired.

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