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UCSD to Become Home to Academia's Fastest Computer

November 05, 1998|KAREN KAPLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The fastest supercomputer in the academic community--able to perform 1 trillion calculations per second--will be installed at San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, the center said Wednesday.

IBM will build the teraflop-class computer for the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure, or NPACI, a group of 37 research institutions led by UCSD. When it is installed in mid-1999, it will be one of the three fastest supercomputers in the country and easily rank among the top 10 worldwide, said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, general manager of IBM's Internet division in Somers, N.Y.

UCSD and IBM are negotiating a price for the RS/6000 SP machine, but it will probably be less than the computer's normal list price of more than $50 million, said Wayne Pfeiffer, deputy director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Funds from the National Science Foundation will cover most of the cost, he said.

With more than 500 gigabytes of random access memory, the computer will open new avenues of academic research in subjects ranging from brain research to simulations of the Big Bang, Wladawsky-Berger said.

Researchers at NPACI institutions around the country will be able to use it over high-speed networks.

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