New York university unveils potent supercomputer

A Long Island laboratory will run this summer one of 10 most powerful supercomputers, university official said.

The $26 million (EUR19.54 million) machine - which can perform 102 trillion calculations per second - has been tested and is due to start operating July 1, said Robert McGrath, provost of Stony Brook University, which was to unveil the machine Friday. The supercomputer is housed at nearby Brookhaven National Laboratory, which the university helps manage.

By comparison, the "Jaguar" supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is capable of 119 trillion calculations per second, or "teraflops." The laboratory's scientific computing chief has described the "Jaguar" as the world's fastest "open science" supercomputer, a term for machines available for general scientific research. Some are restricted to specialized military uses, Newsday reported in its Friday edition.

State money paid for the Stony Brook University supercomputer, a 16-ton IBM Blue Gene/L model machine dubbed "New York Blue." University and state officials expect it to spur economic development and help make the state a destination for biology, medicine, nanoscience and other research requiring high-performance computers.

"We can use this as a magnet for New York State to attract top high-tech firms to create jobs here," said state Assemblyman Marc Alessi, who helped line up money for the Stony Brook University supercomputer and a similar machine at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy. "It's a much better economic model than simply offering tax breaks."

The RPI supercomputer is also expected to start running in July, said John Kolb, the institute's vice president for information technologies.