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IBM to build two supercomputers for the U.S. Department of Energy

IBM said today that it will develop two new supercomputers for the U.S. Department of Energy that are based on IBM’s new Power servers and will contain NVIDIA GPU accelerators and Mellanox networking technology. The new supercomputers, to be named Summit and Sierra, will be ready to roll in 2017; IBM will end up scoring a cool $325 million in government contracts for the project.

The Summit super computer will be installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Sierra will be part of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Both supercomputers are supposed to help the U.S. discover new ways to slow climate change, predict natural disasters, store nuclear waste and improve fuel efficiency.

[company]IBM[/company] claimed that both supercomputers will be able to deliver in excess of 100 peak petaflops, which trumps current supercomputer reigning champs. Oak Ridge’s Titan supercomputer delivers 27 peak petaflops and China’s Tianhe-2, currently the fastest supercomputer in the world, delivers 55 peak petaflops.

The supercomputers are based on IBM’s OpenPower technology, which is managed by the OpenPower Foundation. The OpenPower tech is part of IBM’s efforts to cater to the webscale crowd that needs custom architecture to handle the kind of heavy duty workloads necessary for big-data tasks.

In early October, IBM unveiled a new server that contains both a Power8 processor and Nvidia’s GPU accelerator that IBM wants to sell to the “Linux-scale out market,” said Brad McCredie, an IBM fellow and vice president with IBM’s systems and technology group.